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2016 Whitehall Lane Napa Valley Merlot

SKU #1466623 91 points Wine Enthusiast

Outer quote mark This is a well-made, attractively priced red wine, blended with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot. It shows highlights of sage, clove and cedar that are well integrated into the dense core of blueberry and mocha. (VB) Inner quote mark (5/2020)

90 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark Candied black cherries and pomegranates burst out of this wine aromatically, coupled with graphite, cocoa dust, fresh tobacco leaf, cherry cola, baked croissant, and toasted vanilla. On the palate, this Merlot has fine, firm tannins alongside red currants, strawberry rhubarb pie, raspberry coulis, toasted walnuts, leather, and spice. It is supple in texture and shows attractive depth on the finish. Enjoy right now and through 2026 with proper cellaring. Inner quote mark (10/2018)

90 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark A taut and sanguine red, with roasted cherry and macerated plum flavors that feature plenty of slate notes. Accents of ground black pepper and dried green herbs show on the tannic finish. Drink now. (KM) Inner quote mark (9/2019)

Jeb Dunnuck

Outer quote mark The 2016 Merlot checks in as a blend of 86% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec, and the rest Petit Verdot. A value-priced effort that gives up attractive notes of blackberries, cherries, spice, and leafy herbs, it's medium-bodied, balanced, and easy-drinking. Inner quote mark (1/2019)

K&L Notes

Winery notes; Founded in 1979, Whitehall Lane Winery and Vineyards is a local family-owned and operated winery in Rutherford Appellation of Napa Valley. In 1993, the Leonardini Family of San Francisco and Saint Helena purchased the estate. We are dedicated to growing and making premium, world-class Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Estate wines, while providing excellent hospitality with Napa Green certified and sustainable practices.

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Price: $21.95

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Product Reviews:

By: Kaj Stromer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/3/2020 | Send Email
If there ever was a wine to put an end to the foolish notions regarding Merlot, this should be it. This is one serious Napa Valley red. The wine is packed with a brood of glorious berries, cocoa, leather, and spice. It reminds me a warm vintage Pomerol. One of my first trips ever to Napa Valley included a stop at Whitehall Lane to visit with owner Tom Leonardini Jr. I was impressed then and I continue to be impressed now; perhaps more than ever. I recently tasted through the entire lineup and this Merlot turned out to be a serious head turner. Three cheers.

By: Will Blakely | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/3/2020 | Send Email
This makes a strong case for how great and underappreciated Merlot is here in the states, and might just be the best representation out of Napa for the price. Bursting at the seems with juicy blackberry, it counters with high-grade cacao and creamy vanilla. By no means lazy or flat, it provides ample lift to keep those decadent flavors in focus. Finishing with exotic wood, baking spice and hint of plum pudding, this compelling number should find a place in everyone's collection. You honestly can't afford *not* to try it.

By: Blake Conklin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/3/2020 | Send Email
Before the Sideways Effect tanked Merlot sales in 2004 and beyond, Whitehall Lane had a great focus on Merlot alongside Cabernet. When I started working in wine in 2013, not only did I not know much about wine, I also had no interest in learning about merlot as Sideways taught me that it wasn't cool. It honestly wasn't until I was actually working at Whitehall Lane in the summer where my mind changed completely on the varietal. They had just released the 2006 Leonardini Vineyard Merlot for their wine club members. I was lucky to be able to get my hands on a bottle, and I was pleasantly surprised. While the 2016 Merlot isn't a single vineyard bottling, it reminds me of what made me like Whitehall Lane Merlot in the first place. Dean Sylvester was the winemaker before retiring and having Jason Moulton resume winemaking dutings. With 2016 being Moulton's inaugural vintage, he definitely did not disappoint with this bottling of Merlot. You get a nice red berry and cream danish scent on the nose, followed by an old world flair in flavor. This bottle is in the same ballpark with some of the finest right bank Bordeaux's I've had. And this is high quality Napa Wine for under 25 bucks. Worth a whirl, great for dinner, and worthy of having a couple bottles stocked in your cellar.

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