2013 Pahlmeyer Napa Valley Merlot

SKU #1240701 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 An absolute epic wine is the 2013 Merlot, a blend of 95% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot. It is no wimpy wine either, with the natural alcohol slightly north of 15%. A gorgeous nose including roasted espresso, melted black chocolate, blackberry, plum and cassis offers an exceptional set of aromatics. The wine has beautiful ripeness, headiness and a long finish of close to 45+ seconds. This is a beauty of terrific purity, texture and personality. Few California Merlots will ever be capable of equaling this. Drink it over the next 25-30+ years. Pahlmeyer certainly has one of the most consistently superb resumés for the last 30 years that any winery could desire. (RP)  (12/2016)

93 points Vinous

 The 2013 Merlot is dark, powerful and also quite tannic, all signatures of the vintage. Black cherry, mocha, graphite, plum, smoke, licorice and menthol are bold and intense in the glass, but the 2013 is only showing a hint of its potential. Far from an easygoing Merlot, Pahlmeyer's 2013 is going to need time to be fully expressive. This is a rare vintage that is 100% Merlot. Most of the fruit in the 2013 is estate grown, with a dollop of grapes (15%) from Rancho Chimiles in Coombsville. It's full steam ahead at Pahlmeyer, where the team continues to make compelling wines in both Napa Valley and Sonoma. I focused on Napa Valley wines during my most recent visit earlier this fall and will cover the Sonoma wines early next year. The just concluded harvest in Napa Valley was the first in which farming was done entirely in house, which is a big investment, but also quite common among estate that aspire to be at the top. Some of the recent developments here include an increasing reliance of estate fruit. In the cellar, winemaker Kale Anderson is extending barrel aging for the reds, which means some of the 2013s had not been bottled when I saw them. Concurrently, Pahlmeyer is also moving towards larger 500 liter barrels on a number of wines, which he feels allow the wines to retain more freshness as they age. The 2013s are just as strong at they were last year. (AG)  (10/2015)

92 points Wine Spectator

 Plump and silky, with a luxurious texture and a lingering finish framed by rich flavors of black cherry, mocha, dusty herb and spicy oak. Tannins ease in on the finish. Drink now through 2024. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. (TF)  (5/2016)

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By: Gary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/13/2017 | Send Email
It's a dense, seductive expression of Merlot, showing opulent notes of blackberry preserve, black currant, mocha, coffee and baking spices. Winemaker Kale Anderson (previously of Colgin Cellars, Terra Valentine Winery and Cliff Lede Vineyards) makes incredibly attractive and textured new-world Bordeaux blends as well as individual expressions of those varietals. Most domestic Merlots at this price point are built for your cellar and very closed down in their youth. Thankfully for us, this bottle is most certainly an exception. Pull the cork tonight or lay this bottle down for 5-8 years. Your choice.

By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/13/2017 | Send Email
For as long as I’ve been in the wine biz Pahlmeyer has been one of the most reliable producers of high end Napa Valley wine. Their efforts, year in and year out, are rarely matched in terms of sheer deliciousness, elegance, poise and relative value whether it is their rich, oak laden Chards, the texturally impressive Merlots or the refined Proprietary Red Wine. The combination of the outrageous 2013 vintage and the long term dedication to quality from Pahlmeyer makes these wines some of the easiest choices on the market for their respective price points. We know not everyone can afford these wines on a regular basis but we also can’t recommend them highly enough for that special dinner/moment/gift that we all find ourselves needing from time to time.
The 2013 Merlot from Pahlmeyer is such a stunning wine that it may make you forget the last 10+ years of general anti-Merlot sentiment that one stupid line from an indie move created in the US. Velvety soft and full of fully formed aromas of café con leche, blueberry muffins, wet asphalt and torched sugar this is one impressive nose. Powerful yet accessible this Merlot is far from being a one trick pony and has all the complexity, if not more, than most of the Cabernet in this price point all in a more drinkable and pleasurable frame. Soft, pliable tannins and a wealth of purely fruited flavors like wild blackberry lead to darker and more bass toned flavors of cocoa powder and dark chocolate covered espresso beans. As this wraps up with plush oak tones and a lengthy finish that adds a touch of warm spice this is about as good as varietal Merlot can get and maybe the best Pahlmeyer Merlot I’ve tasted.

By: Shaun Green | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/10/2017 | Send Email
Perfect California Merlot? Maybe so. The beautiful 2013 vintage and the peak of California Merlot producers come together in one stunning package. Wonderfully rich and intensity following all the way from the nose to the extra long finish are just a start of this beauty's appeal. Layers of deep black fruits, subtle coffee notes and fine tannins hold together just right and absorb all of the lovely oak. Quite complex and very well structured. The wine will surprise you when you see the ABV of slightly over 15%, the wine is so incredibly balanced you won't even notice. Spectacular!

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Merlot

- A very popular red grape variety found in the great wines of St. Emilion and Pomerol. It is the most planted variety in Bordeaux, and it has also become an extremely fashionable red in many regions including California. Although it has a reputation to be smooth, and easy to drink when young, Merlot is also capable of producing extremely intense wines as well. It is often used as a blending agent with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.
Alcohol Content (%): 15.2