2005 Merriam Vineyards Merlot, "Windacre" - Russian River Valley

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VERDICT: "Smashing stuff"
"Windacre" - Russian River Valley
Merlot, 14.2% alc.
www.merriamvineyards.com Review by Clinton Stark

Located on the edge of the Russian River Valley, you’d expect some nice reds from Merriam Vineyards. And this ′05 “Windacre” Merlot definitely fits the bill. Normally a Cab guy, through-and-through with an odd bent recently for drinking Chardonnay—every day I further appreciate all the diversity (and complexity) this most ever popular white grape affords.

Still, on average you’ll find this guy drinking reds. Especially Napa Cabs. But I’m not turned off by the Merlot grape like many a post-Sideways viewer. In fact, Merlot can bring on a lot of characteristics that I find enjoyable in a wine: pepper, earthiness, leather, black berries. So, what’s not to like?

Merriam Vineyards 2005 Windacre Merlot, Russian River ValleyI found this Merlot to be full of flavor. Those looking for something mellow, subdued would do well to look elsewhere. This single vineyard Merlot brings plenty of character to the table.

This Windacre Merlot has enough tannins to take on a zesty meat pairing, without zonking the mouth completely. The earthiness is just leather-perfect: velvety, yet enough dirt there to feel somewhat rumbustious.

Here’s a different pairing suggestion. Try this Merlot with a too-good-to-be-true Pastrami Panini. The luxurious nap that follows is summer bliss.

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