2005MerryvaleStarmontCabernetfromNapaIf you’re heading to Costco this weekend, here’s another good Cab to add to your wine list. From a new producer, Merryvale, established just 2 years ago in 2006, the winery seems to be on track to producing quality wines. Time will tell of course, but for now, this is a strong showing.

This particular Cabernet is from their standard label ‘Starmont’. They have three other premium labels which I have yet to try, but look forward to it. Speaking of labels, the look is refreshingly classic, especially after my encounter with some Australian “Evil” last week.

Lamb was one of the winemaker’s suggestions for pairing, and that sounded like a perfect menu choice for our 4 tasters last weekend. We purchased a sumptuous rack of lamb from the local market, Cosentino’s, here in San Jose, and grilled it with a nice, but light seasoning (here’s a recommended lamb recipe).

It was time to taste.

It was true, this wine did pair well with the lamb. The body is fairly pronounced with oaky wood contributing to a long finish. Although the Merryvale tasting notes mention “exotic spices” I would prefer them to be more forward. Perhaps some cellar aging, as recommended, would help.

A brief comparison with last week’s Evil does reveal this to be a more sophisticated wine no doubt. Whereas the Shiraz is in-your-face, “hoy mate!”, this Cab is laid back. The black current and vanilla were wonderful along with the seared lamb.

The Starmont did not dominate the flavors, and it did not fade either. I’m not sure it’s the right match for a spicy BBQ. But for a nuanced and classy lamb dinner, this would be a great choice. We will definitely be picking up some more of this wine soon so we can cellar and enjoy down the road.

A note on the Starmont facility; we’re pleased to see it has committed to a green philosophy. In 2007, they were awarded a¬†Napa Green Farm Certificate Program. Their solar system generates¬†enough energy to power 250 homes. For more details, visit their web page about the Starmont facility.


2005 Merryvale Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon
Merryvale Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
Cabernet Sauvignon, Alc. 14.5%
$17.99 (Costco)

Clint says: A good value, quality cabernet with more vanilla than spice. Your lamb dinner has found its partner.

Rating: 89 out of 100

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear