2011 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Merlot (Previously $22.99)
Grill up or pan sear a steak, put some brown butter sauce on it, and enjoy with this luscious Merlot. The wine, which is blended with other Bordeaux varieties, is rich in blackberries, cherries, currants and oak, while the low alcohol, only 13.5% by volume, reaffirms its Merlot delicacy.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Merlot Napa is a blend of 82.2% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc aged 14 months in 25% new oak. A solid, competent effort for the vintage, it offers up notes of herbs, white chocolate, espresso, clove and sweet cherries. Medium-bodied and somewhat short, it needs to be drunk over the next 4-6 years. Now owned by Kendall-Jackson, but with long-time winemaker Ted Edwards still firmly in control, Freemark Abbey has produced a large assortment of wines ranging from very good to exceptional. (RP)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Good full medium red. Aromas of cherry, plum and arugula, plus a hint of roasted oak. Nicely sweet on entry, then a bit medicinal in the middle, with raspberry and plum flavors joined by herbs and tobacco leaf. Finishes with substantial dusty, slightly drying tannins.
Blended with 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petite Verdot, Freemark Abbey's 2011 Merlot is sourced from select vineyards across Napa Valley. The largest portions of fruit come from the gravelly loam soils of Red Barn Ranch in Rutherford (25%) and the clay loam of Lower Cardinale Vineyard in Oakville (22%). The wine spent 14 months in 25% new French and American oak before bottling. From the winery: "Ruby colored, the Merlot expresses bright fruit with forward spicy sweet oak. There are layers of flavor composed of blackberry, dark cherry, raspberry, dark plum, milk chocolate and spices such as cinnamon and vanilla. Coupled with the bright fruit, there is a hint of arugula adding to the complexity. The entry and finish are very smooth with integrated fruit resembling black cherry and Santa Rosa plum. The velvety texture coupled with the richness of flavor provides a profile that delivers from initial sip, one that continues on the palate for a very long time."