Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
May 19, 2007 06:50 PM

I'll drink Merlot and you'll like it!! Top CA MR's.

Eugene and Bill's exchange about the Beringer Howell Mtn. "Bancroft Ranch" merlot in the Spectator Grand Tasting thread got me thinking about the 94's and 95's I have sitting in the cellar. Then I got to thinking about all the time I've spent defending certain producers of this grape. I suppose it is unavoidable that some one will say that no merlots are any good--especially the ones from California--so we'll just have to deal with that but it's my mouth and I'll put in it what I want.

While it is always alluring to go to Pomerol/St. Emilion or Italian's like Masseto and Lamaione, let's keep this thread to California.

Below are my favs from California (in no particular order), what are yours?

Beringer Howell Mountain "Bancroft Ranch"
Arrowood Reserve
Sterling "Three Palms"
Duckhorn "Three Palms"
Blackstone (just kidding)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. Paloma.

      Agree with Pride, especially the Mountaintop Vintner Select.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Elvis Goldberg


        Pride Mountaintop Vintner Select is great, my favorite. I'm not certain that it is wine or if Foley just throws Snickers in a blender. It is basically Foley being honest about what he does and just going for the jugular. I'm not actually a fan of his style, but the wine is so opulent and honest about what it is, that I have to give it 'props'

        Paloma is my favorite of the ones that are varietally correct.

        Behrens and Hitchkock makes a decent one, too.

        I guess I think Spring Mountain is a good place to grow the grape.

        1. re: whiner

          Yes. I'm first to admit that the Pride Mountaintop Select Merlot are as milkshake as a wine can get. But, vintage in and out, I like them for what they are.

          Paloma, too, have been very good with their merlot.

          I agree too, that, mountain-grown fruit seems to make better merlot than the valley ones.

          1. re: whiner

            B&H has now been renamed Erna Schein as Hitchcock has been bought out.
            Keenan makes a decent merlot as well.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. How about Washington State?
            L'Ecole No 41.

            5 Replies
            1. re: 2top

              I have to agree with 2top. I LOVE Northstar Merlot.

              But for California:
              Beringer Howell Mtn
              Pine Ridge Crimson Creek

              1. re: chickstein

                Nice call on the Northstar. I almost always like anything Jed Steele is involved with.

                1. re: chickstein

                  I forgot one that I really love Pahlmayer. Whitehall Lane doesn't suck either!

                  1. re: chickstein

                    Ah yes, the Pahlmayer! Thanks for jogging the old memory.

                    Whitehall Lane went down, but seems to have come back up. The recent ones still don't quite "do it for me," like the '80s offerings did, but I think that there have been several management & winemaker changes, so maybe they will continue on an upward note.


                2. re: 2top

                  Owen Roe always delivers a great wine.

                3. blankiet; havens (reserve); paradigm

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ibstatguy

                    Another good call with the Havens. Yes.