The best Merlots in the world are made on the right bank of the Gironde river in French Bordeaux, but the made-in-America 2005 COHO Merlot Michael Black Vineyard takes imitation as a most serious form of flattery. It’s got the complex tannins, velvety mouthfeel, and robust fruit that’s characteristic of great Pomerols and St.-Emilions, but there’s something distinctly American about what’s in this bottle. It’s in the Napa soil, stone, sun and air that shape the small cluster of grapes that produce the amazing concentration of juice that differentiates this wine. Really, this Merlot is quite the distinguished gentleman in a dark blue striped Tom Ford suit, and he’s sitting at the white linen cloth table awaiting the perfect seared ribeye to arrive, say at The Wynn Las Vegas’ SW Steakhouse or Mastro’s Steakhouse in Beverly Hills. A brilliant achievement. –J.M.
*Note. This wine is available only to Coho wine club members, but it does manage to appear on the shelves of select wine shops and on the wine menus of fine dining restaurants. Seek and ye shall find.
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Great Wine: Domaine du Grand Montmirail Vacqueyras