HOME > Chowhound > Wine >


Best Merlot

What does everyone recommend for their best merlot? I've become a huge merlot fan lately and want to try out different brands. Not looking for anything too expensive though...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. First off, I would have to say there is no such thing as "best," but rather -- everyone has his or her own favorites, and with that, your mileage may vary . . .

    Secondly, what do you mean by "not too expensive"? Obviously this, too, varies with every individual.

    (For the purposes of this post, I'll keep any suggestions at $30 or less.)

    So, having said that -- and presuming we are talking about wines other than St.-Émilions and Pomerols -- I generally prefer the Merlots of Washington State to California, but clearly there are a number of exceptions to that statement. One of my all-time favorite California Merlots is the Storrs Merlot, San Ysidro District AVA (not their Central Coast bottling). It's in the high-$20s/low-$30s. Frog's Leap and Robert Keenan are two others, both in the same price range.

    One of my favorite Washington Merlot producers is L'Ecole No. 41, which starts in the low-$20s. Waterbrook Merlot from Washington State is delightful and in the low $20s. So, too, are the Merlots from Chateau Ste. Michelle, and even their sister winery, Columbia Crest, is quite tasty for their sub-$10 price! Canoe Ridge is another Washington Merlot in the low $20s that is well worthwhile.

    That should be a start . . .


    1. I'm particularly fond of Washington State Merlots. Chateau Ste Michelle makes a couple of tasty ones that are pretty widely available.

      Also, the winemaker at St. Supery in Rutherford, Napa Valley says merlot is his favorite grape, and their Merlot definitely reflects his preference. Delicious!

      4 Replies
      1. re: ChefJune

        Agreed on St. Supery, especially the reserves (Dollarhide). Also, St. Francis reserve Merlots.

        1. re: ChefJune

          Do you recommend any particular series from Ste Michelle? Ethos? I think they have 7. :)

          1. re: BDD888

            I'm not June, but can I answer anyway?

            CSM is a very good winery, but not my favorite. In other words, there are other Merlots from Washington State that I prefer. And I generally find Washington State Merlot to be significantly better than most California Merlots.

            In the CSM line, clearly they feel the Ethos ($40 WSRP) is their finest. I have not tried it, however, and so cannot comment one way or another. I do like their Cold Creek ($30 WSRP) and Canoe Ridge ($25 WSRP) bottlings, too, but as I said -- I prefer others.


            1. re: zin1953

              Do you think CSM is a good choice to add to my grouping of wines to sample when I'm in LA to sample? I should be in LA for roughly 6-9 months.

        2. I wouldn't leave out St.-Émilions and Pomerols, after all, if you want to really know what Merlot is like, these offer some of the best, and often at excellent values. Château Pipeau is always a good value as is Clos de l'Oratoire. Of course, these wines are often best if cellared for a while, so maybe Chew on That doesn't want to wait.

          3 Replies
          1. re: dinwiddie

            "I wouldn't leave out St.-Émilions and Pomerols"

            Amen. For all of the well-deserved griping about the prices of 2005 Bordeaux, there are legitimate bargains to be had. The quality of this vintage is undeniable. I have had some low level '05s ( wines that would fail to impress in a lesser vintage ) that are magnificent NOW ( with significant decanting ) and are priced at $12-25. Almost all of the lower level Bordeaux have a significant amount of Merlot and you'd be hard pressed to find many CA bottles that would compare to these in this price range.

            1. re: brupnow

              Please share the names of some of your favorite bargains please!

              1. re: moh

                My new school night red...2005 Chateaux de Brondeau 'Bordeax Superieur'. As I said, in lesser vintages, the 'Superieur' often means 'yuck' but not in '05. It's a special vintage. $12 is ridiculously cheap for this wine.

                I'll look up some of the others I've tried but that one stood out. I'd encourage experimentation. The wines have been universally good thus far. I'm sure there will be a lot of 'finds'.

          2. I agree with all of zin1953's Washington recommendations~ but must add my own personal Washington favorite merlot... Fidelitas. It's the mid to upper $20 range and wonderful with a steak off the grill and some chocolate!

            1. Faure-Beausejour from Fronsac is really good for the price ($13). Actually, a lot of wine from Fronsac is an excellent value, even after it gets the trans-Atlantic markup. Might be a little harder to find though.

              Canoe Ridge is owned by Chateau St. Michelle. It's their fancy label. In general, I think CSM is perfectly fine but not what I would call "best" if we are simply talking the stuff you can find on the shelves at Fred Meyer. (Canoe Ridge is obviously a different story.)

              If I want a Washington bordeaux blend, I turn to Hedges Red Mountain. It's so good.

              19 Replies
              1. re: iwantmytwodollars

                Keep in mind that -- regardless of the question posed by the OP -- it's not a function of "best" (whatever that means). I'm the one who first mentioned CSM, and I did so with the admonishment that, lacking any sort of budgetary guidelines in the original post, I was setting the admittedly arbitrary limit of $30 or less.

                If price is no object, I'll take Pétrus.

                1. re: zin1953

                  Yes, I understand as you previously stated you hate the term best. And I agree that is a subjective issue.

                  What I wanted to clarify for the original poster is that Canoe Ridge is owned by CSM, not a seperate business entity. That's all.

                  1. re: iwantmytwodollars

                    Swanson Merlot & Rocca Merlot.....even Miles (from Sideways) would like these.

                    1. re: drumwine

                      Merlot is just about the last varietal I think of when choosing a wine. Nonetheless, a guest brought over a bottle of Swanson Merlot one evening and it was stunning: powerful, clean, concentrated without being jammy.

                      The other one that totally knocked my socks off was Pride's -- intense blackberry and blueberry fruit. Phenomenal, actually. But not cheap.

                      And by the way, the joke regarding Merlot in Sideways is lost on many -- the '61 Cheval Blanc that Miles is saving for a special occasion during the movie and that he drinks at the end is a Merlot-Cab Franc blend.

                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        and, of course, if Miles were the wine geek that he is portrayed to be, he would have known that.

                        1. re: ibstatguy

                          In the book though it makes more sense. He says he thinks Cab Franc and Merlot are both blending grapes and not fit to be bottled alone. This doesn't come across very well in the movie though.

                          Of course I disagree because the Cab Fran's from the Loire are some of my favorite reds.

                        2. re: maria lorraine

                          True, but the "reverse" joke is that while most St.-Émilionsare Merlot-dominant, Château Cheval Blanc is approx. 67% Cab Franc and 33% Merlot, so . . . .

                          1. re: zin1953

                            Jason, would you mind sharing some info from that vast storehouse that is your cranium?

                            I've just checked the blending ratios of Cheval Blanc going back to 1993, and it pretty consistently seems to be around 55 Cab Franc, 45 Merlot.

                            What I had heard over the years was that the blend was about 50-50, so my impression wasn't quite accurate.

                            When I checked 1961 (Miles's wine), it WAS at 66 CF/33 Merlot, but the only other year that resembled that blending ratio was 2002.

                            I'm a bit confused because Frank Prial wrote in The New York Times that "Cheval Blanc, one of the greatest of all the Bordeaux properties, is usually nearly 70 percent cabernet franc and 30 percent merlot." Yet when I've checked the blends for the last 15 years, they don't match what Prial says.

                            2000 was the only year I could find that was Merlot-dominant: 53%Merlot/47%Cabernet Franc.

                            So what's the scoop on the blend? Seems like it's evolved to be pretty much the 55CF/45M I mentioned. Do you have a different take?

                            1. re: maria lorraine

                              Frank Prial and I are both dinosaurs who often (OK, "probably" in Frank's case) write from memory without researching the facts first.

                              In his definitive work, "The Great Wine Châteaux of Bordeaux" (©1975), Hubrecht Duijker writes, "Highly characteristic of Cheval Blanc is the unorthodox way in which the vineyard is planted: there is not Cabernet Sauvignon at all. The vine species used two-thirds Cabernet Franc, almost one-third Merlot and just one hectare of Malbec." (page 168)

                              In "The Wines of Saint-Émilion and Pomerol" (© 1983), Jeffery Benson & Alastair Mackenzie write, of Cheval Blanc, "The estate comprises 42 hectares of which there are 35.11 of vines (33% Merlot, 66% Bouchet [a local name for Cabernet Franc], 1% Pressac [a local name for Malbec]." (page 54)

                              In "Bordeaux: A Legenday Wine" (© 1998), Michel Dovaz writes,"The miracle of a success story like this is due to a white horse, and to the wine itself -- a sublimated expression of cabernet franc (60 percent) in a harmonious blend with merlot and a bunch or two of malbec." (page 235) Additionally, in a chart at the bottom of the page, he lists the grape varieties as follows: "60% CF, 37% M, 2% malbec, 1% CS." This is the ONLY published reference I can recall seeing that indicates there is Cabernet Sauvignon planted at Ch. Cheval Blanc.

                              ALL THIS ASIDE . . . .

                              Keep in mind there is generally a distinct difference between what is planted in the vineyard, and what is in the wine. In each of the above cases, the figures given apply to what is PLANTED in the vineyard. This is typically the figure most people use when speaking of what grapes are found in "Château 'X'." It is only when one mentions a specific vintage that the percentages of grapes will typically refer to the wine, rather than to the vineyard.

                              Now, in fairness, I have to add that London merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd list the following information on their website: "Cheval Blanc's vineyards (Merlot 39%, Cabernet Franc 57%, Malbec 3%, Cabernet Sauvignon 1%) enjoy a variety of soils: gravel, clay and sand, all underpinned by an impermeable sedimentary rock (`crasse de fer')." I don't know when this information was written, but here, too, it's worth noting the mention of Cabernet Sauvignon.

                              And finally, on Château Cheval Blanc's own website -- http://www.chateau-cheval-blanc.com/f... -- they write, "[T]he single block of Cheval Blanc's 37 hectares combine a top-quality wine growing soil with an original mix of grape varieties, Cabernet Franc and Merlot." But no percentages are given.

                              So . . . .


                            2. re: zin1953

                              and Miles was similarly dismissive of Cab Franc...maybe I've seen it one too many times...

                              1. re: ibstatguy

                                Did he mention cab franc in the movie? I remember it in the book, but it's been a long time since I've seen the movie.

                                1. re: vanillagorilla

                                  yes, it was in the tasting room where he and his buddy meet Sandra Oh

                        3. re: iwantmytwodollars

                          Yes, but . . .

                          Stimson Lane -- the wine division of US Tobacco -- owns Chateau Ste. Michelle. They also own Columbia Crest and Domaine Ste. Michelle, as well as these other wineries in Washington State: Col Solare, Northstar (which, BTW, is dedicated to making Merlot), Red Diamond, Snoqualmie, Spring Valley Vineyard, Stimson Lane Cellars (a line of "fighting varietal" 1.5Ls) , and a label I've never heard of, 14 Hands. In Calfiornia, they also own Conn Creek and Villa Mt. Eden (both in Napa), and they have a Monterey project called Distant Bay.

                          Canoe Ridge is in partnership with the Chalone Group, not Stimson Lane.


                          1. re: zin1953

                            I got a bottle of 14 Hands Merlot, Patterson, WA at the Chronicle Wine Shop in Pasadena two years ago. It was a '02 and my notes say it didn't have any nose but the flavor was lively with dark berries on the finish. It cost $7.95, which might explain why nobody has heard of it, but it wasn't bad.

                            1. re: BN1

                              I bought the Indaba Merlot for around $8, and for an $8 bottle of wine, it was very pleasant. In general, I have enjoyed the QPR of all the Indaba wines I have tried. Can't drink Amarone every day!!!

                            2. re: zin1953

                              I believe they also own Erath in Oregon.

                              1. re: vanillagorilla

                                Yes, as of May 2006. (Thanks for catching my omission.)

                              2. re: zin1953

                                I just realized we are talking about two totally different things. I was referring to the merlot made by CSM from their Canoe Ridge vineyard, which says "Canoe Ridge" on the label and CSM at the bottom. But you were referring to Canoe Ridge Vineyards, (capital V), of the Chalone group? Sorry for the confusion!

                                1. re: iwantmytwodollars

                                  just to fully clear up the confusion, Canoe Ridge is a place. It's a ridge near one of the widest spots on the Columbia River which was named by Louis and Clark because they thought it looked like an upside down canoe. CSM and Chalone planted vineyards there around the same time and some very nice wines have come from this location. In fact Canoe Ridge Vineyard (Chalone, now Diageo) has quite a reputation for their Merlot.

                                  As far as the "best merlot" question, all these mentioned are good and seem to fall into three categories...California, Washington, and Bordeaux. For my money, Washington Merlot wins out. Lots of character and affordable, some great finds between $15 and $30. if you want to spend a little more, and can find it, Abeja makes a great merlot, I think it's $40 or $50.

                        4. I'm not a merlot fan but one I like is Havens.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: SteveTimko

                            I like just about everything they do, except for their albarino...

                            1. re: ibstatguy

                              what don't you like about it? too acidic for you?

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                yes, no balance to it when I tasted it. moreover, you can get very, very good albarinos from spain for less than the havens.

                          2. for good, affordable [$25 and under], i like:

                            rabbit ridge
                            flora springs
                            columbia crest
                            casa lapostolle

                            1. under $30 I really like Sterling Merlot, california..also Columbia crest, washington

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: burlgurl

                                another vote for sterling - a favorite that i somehow omitted from my list.

                              2. The consensus favorite of my wife and I is deLorimier, Geyserville, CA, which cost $19.69 at the Bottle Barn for what I bought this year. We also enjoyed L’Ecole No. 41, Northstar and Swanson. Although I’ve tried and I’ve tried, I’m always under whelmed by Columbia Crest, but that’s just my taste.

                                1. unfortunately "best" and "not too expensive" really don't go together but...if you want best domestic merlot for you money:

                                  swithcback ridge
                                  robert foley

                                  they are all about $50-$65 each.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: rickym13

                                    >>> unfortunately "best" and "not too expensive" really don't go together but... <<<

                                    True, but "best" is nothing more than a matter of individual taste, and there are several domestic Merlots in the $30 range I prefer to those you mentioned, as well as several in the $75+ range that I prefer.

                                    This does not mean I disagree with your list. I think those are four very fine choices. I'm merely pointing out that it all boils down to one's own individual likes and dislikes.


                                    1. re: zin1953

                                      i agree with you jason...those 4 that i have listed are all fruit forward and very much influence or made by robert foley.
                                      i also do like older pahlmeyer and lewis merlot as well as some of right bank stuff but those have much higher price tag.

                                      i did have nice argentina merlot @ $13+/- called vina cobos la garto, imported by paul hobbs i think?

                                  2. OP hasn't come back to give any direction or explain what "not too expensive" means. I honestly haven't purchased a single Merlot-based wine in years. However, though I haven't had the most recent vintages of it, I would say that Clos Apalta has always impressed me and it isn't TOO expensive...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: whiner

                                      Hadn't had a Merlot for quite awhile, picked up a bottle of 2005 Dynamite at Sams for $10.00. It was pretty good.

                                    2. Chateau Gombaude Guillot - 1998 Pomerol

                                      1. As other have mentioned, there are some great right bank Bordeaux in that price range. For example, I just got a case of 2004 D'Aiguilhe (France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Côtes de Castillon) for under $20 (Zachy's) which I was really impressed with. For domestic it is going to cost you more money. Most domestic Merlot is plonk (maybe a few good inexpensive ones from Washington state). Stick to the 3 P's. Paloma, Pahlmeyer and Pride. For some reason, Spring Mountain makes some really good Merlot. I would throw in Schafer as well. Last week I had a 1996 Arrrowood Merlot that was pretty good as well.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Latinpig

                                          It pains me to read that you bought the D'Aiguilhe 2004 for less than $20/bottle; it is about $40 here in Canada due to our horrible liquor taxes.

                                          D'Aiguilhe, by the way, is (I believe) Michel Rolland's winery. I think his family actually owns that one (which may lead some people to be biased against it, along with the fact that it is around 14% Alc/Vol and has the friendly fruit-forward quality of a new world wine. I like it, though, and think it is a particularly good steak or slow-cooked beef short-rib wine.)

                                        2. I tend to get my hands on some wines that are pretty hard to come across but, just in case, a few of my favorites are:

                                          O'Brien Family (Napa)
                                          Chateau Christina (Monterey)
                                          Midnight Cellars (Paso Robles)
                                          Isenhower (Washington)
                                          Hall (Napa)
                                          Frick (Sonoma)

                                          1. i am ignoring not too expensive (sorry but seems covered) and going straight to best ...Behrens & Hitchcock Merlot ... any time I have served or been served this lovely wine I am stunned. It knocks the socks off of adamant Merlot haters and lovers alike ...splurge and buy a bottle ... absolutely yummy but it might wreck you for anything else!

                                            11 Replies
                                            1. re: oliveoyl

                                              a couple of questions about the b&h:

                                              which region [oakville, napa, mendocino]?
                                              favorite/best vintage? 2002?

                                              always happy to discover a new special occasion bottle!

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                The Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Merlot is usually a good bet (and not too expensive, either).

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  I've had the Oakville, Fortuna .. isn't it in Napa? I have a few bottle of 2000 around. Have had later vintages .. all good never a bad one, it's probably more a matter of what you can find.

                                                  I've also had their Cabs ..also highly recommended!

                                                2. re: oliveoyl

                                                  if ignoring expense (and focusing on domestic), IMO there is no better merlot than Blankiet.

                                                  1. re: ibstatguy

                                                    ok, i'm confused...aren't B&H and Blankiet completely different wineries?

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      yes but as oliveoyl "threw down" a vote for the "best" I wanted to weigh in with my "best" regardless of price. and BTW, there have been big ownership changes at B&H over the last year or so.

                                                      1. re: ibstatguy

                                                        mea culpa.

                                                        i completely read your post wrong - i thought it said there WAS better merlot than Blankiet - as though it was oliveoyl's pick and you were disagreeing with her.

                                                        1. re: ibstatguy

                                                          wasn't a "throw down" .. whatever that might mean. I didn't think this was a competition .. we all have different tastes and experiences and I merely expressed my own. Haven't had Blankiet Merlot, perhaps it is superior to B&H.

                                                          1. re: oliveoyl

                                                            the comment was a bit tongue in cheek...and I'm a big fan of B&H and some of the new spin offs like Rob't Nenow

                                                      2. re: ibstatguy

                                                        I recently had the good fortune to be invited to share a bottle of Blankiet merlot and am distraught that it's so hard to buy (though my wallet rejoices).

                                                        Is B&H a similar style and quality, and/or easier to procure? It certainly seems to be less expensive.

                                                        1. re: Pei

                                                          FYI - buy some while you can as Blankiet is no longer making a single varietal Merlot.

                                                    2. I have to say that I'm not a fan of Merlot, but when I had the Merlot from Schweiger Vineyards on Spring Mountain, in Napa I was floored. Its not inexpensive, the best price I've seen is $28, but in my estimation, well worth the money.

                                                      Spring Mountain is referred to as "Cab Mountain" and Schweiger's cabs are fantastic, but as I said, their Merlot hit a home run with me.

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: altajoe

                                                        Many people nowadays aren't fans of Merlot since it's so abundant and few are very good. That is, until they taste the better ones rather than the generic crap that's mass produced. However, as you said, Schweiger makes some good reds. And if everybody drank some Merlot from Shafer, Duckhorn, Pride, Paloma, etc., there would be more Merlot fans out there.

                                                        1. re: baron45

                                                          There can be good merlot, but I think the big problem is the grape itself. Unless you get a really good climate and soil, it's just a blending grape.

                                                          1. re: SteveTimko

                                                            I'm not much of a Merlot fan myself, but it is supposedly the largest selling single red varietal (including where it dominates a blend) in the US market. That statement covers all price points and would seem to be because it is affordable and more 'approachable' than other reds for the mass market.

                                                            1. re: SteveTimko

                                                              that's kind of a descriptor for most grapes though, no?

                                                              1. re: SteveTimko

                                                                No, no, no . . .

                                                                The problem with Merlot is that -- you know, new thread.

                                                            2. re: altajoe

                                                              Having grown up at a winery on Spring Mountain, I have to say that's the first I'd heard it called "Cab Mountain." That said, it's not surprising, since there are a lot of great cabs there and almost everybody pays the mortgage with cab money.

                                                              Merlot is more finicky on the mountain, producing top-tier flavor complexity and profiles on a less regular basis than cab sauv or cab franc, but when it works it really works. I'd even go as far as to say that the absolute best wines on Spring Mountain, if you had 5+ vintages to pick from, would probably be merlot. It's just that on average, the best varietal would be cab sauv.

                                                              I'm no fan of wine spectator, but their pick of 2001 Paloma Merlot for their 2003 wine of the year is sort of indicative of what can come off of Spring Mountain.

                                                              Spring Mountain wineries with Spring Mountain Merlot fruit mentioned in this thread: Paloma, Pride, Schweiger, possibly Behrens & Hitchcock but I've never figured out what they're really about and where they are.

                                                            3. I LOVE Northstar from Washington State. Duckhorn and Pine Ridge both make an excellent merlot. At a tasting recently I tried the Beringer Howell Mountain Merlot and was very impressed. I thought it was very good.

                                                              If money were no object, than Petrus or Masseto please!

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: chickstein

                                                                If you like Northstar, try DiStefano, it's less expensive but just good (if not better) IMO.

                                                                1. re: pierrot

                                                                  DiStefano DOES do a wonderful job . . .

                                                                  1. re: zin1953

                                                                    I just tasted through their line up a few days ago and was pretty impressed with all their stuff.

                                                                    Their Meritage style was really good, a very vibrant acidity, the Syrah reminded me of some St. Josephs that I have had, though with more forward oak and a rich mocha tone underneath.

                                                              2. An excellent Merlot not mentioned so far - unless I missed it - is the Sagelands.

                                                                We recently opened an '02 (!), and it is still excellent and has another year to go. (Purchased at the winery and stored properly since, it must be added.) Very reasonably priced, too.

                                                                1. Doesn't anyone drink Argentine Merlot? While I don't dispute the qualities of a good Washington State merlot, look south vino-lovers, way south. You might be surprised.

                                                                  There is a much different flavor profile found in Merlot from the southern hemisphere; it's not as grapey and has much more of an earthy flavor to it.

                                                                  Trapiche makes a good merlot (as well as a great Malbec); Michel Torino is also delicious and my favorite is the Monte Lindo Alta Vista merlot.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: cooknKate

                                                                    It's not that I have never "looked south" when it comes to Merlot. It's that I've never had any Merlot worthy of note from Argentina or Chile.



                                                                  2. I just had a 2006 Montes Malbec (not the upline Alpha) that was excellent. The $8.99 price tag was a bonus.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: karmalaw

                                                                      Montes makes a decent pinot as well.

                                                                      1. re: SteveTimko

                                                                        there are some very nice pinots from the patagonian region of Argentina too.

                                                                    2. My very favorite Merlot right now is Horse Heaven Hills Columbia Crest 2005. I've tried a lot of suggestions but this is fantastic, affordable wine for every day. Cheers!

                                                                      1. Hm-m-m. I must have missed this thread, but just in time for Halloween, it has come back to life.

                                                                        For the record (excluding some form Pomerol, that are just not than available to me) I am a big fan of two:

                                                                        Dan Duckhorn's Napa Merlot
                                                                        Beringer Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot

                                                                        In a pinch, Joseph Phelps' Napa Merlot will work, as will Groth's.


                                                                        1. Well, here's my favorite Merlot list (as of today):
                                                                          1. 2003,2005 & 2006 Northstar of Washington - DELISH!
                                                                          2. Whitehall Lane 2006 of Napa
                                                                          3. Rutherford Hill 2004 of Napa

                                                                          I have found most Washington Merlots to be very nice.

                                                                          1. Any one have favorite Merlots from France? If so what are they? From the St. Emillion or Pomerol appellations.

                                                                            23 Replies
                                                                            1. re: BDD888

                                                                              To solicit from fellow chowhounders on the wine board their ' favourite Pomerol ' without providing a price range is asking for heated debate!!

                                                                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                What's life without a little heat? Let's leave it to their discretion. For example, "...my favorite Merlot from St. Emillion is X and is considered a budget Merlot priced at $50.00"...etc. "...and for people with deep pockets I highly recommend a 1998 vintage bottle from Ch Petrus Pomerol which for reasons A, B and C....costs $1500.00"...etc. http://www.thelifeofluxury.com/petrus...)

                                                                                1. re: BDD888

                                                                                  Favorite wines in general (Château Cache Phloe, Domaine Jean Deaux), or in specific (2024 vintage Château Cache Phloe, 2017 Domaine Jean Deaux)?

                                                                                  And shouldn't this be a separate thread?

                                                                              2. re: BDD888

                                                                                Are your asking for particular Chateau or particular bottles that we have drunk and like?

                                                                                Personally I love Tetre Roteboeuf and La Conseillante. Great wine but still affordable by my standard.

                                                                                For individual bottles, the 1990 Lafleur, Le Pin and Petrus. Hands down! However, they have become soooo expensive that none of them I'm willing to dish out the $$$$ for nowadays!

                                                                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                  No. No particular CH or bottles you have drunk. If you only had two weeks to live and you wanted to sample 1 or 2 bottles of Merlot what would they be? Though maybe you've already answered w/ TR and La C. Same applies to any one else that wants to reply.

                                                                                  While I'm in LA I might as well sample Merlots from Pride, Duckhorn...etc. Though, I think they can be had up here in Toronto bought from the LCBO. Better yet when I find the time I might sample a few now before I head to LA. :) Need to go pickup a decanter...etc.

                                                                                  1. re: BDD888

                                                                                    If I have only two weeks to live, I will only drink D'Yquem with Foie Gras and Weinbach Gewurtztraminer with Braised dried Japanese abalone!!

                                                                                    1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                      I've never had duck liver fattened or not. Do love salmon pate...so who knows...might like Foie Gras too. For now my meal would be a nice 1.5" thick porterhouse...with which red wine? Yet to be determined. :) Have heard of D'Yquem. Abalone? Pass!! :)

                                                                                      1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                        Hm-m, that abalone and Gewurtz sounds interesting. Sounds like something that I could get into. While I've had abalone done many ways, the braised, dried, Japanese abalone is not one of them. Gotta' keep my eyes out for that one. Any recs. on a restaurant, or is this an "at-home dish" for you?



                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                          Braised dried Japanese abalone is a very popular 'high end' dish in Hong Kong and can be found in most good Cantonese restaurants. Good large ones can cost as much as the bottle of Weinbach or Zind-Humbrecht Grand Cru! As a resident of Phoenix, I'm not sure whether your Chinese restaurants have the skill to prepare the dish properly. In the States, best bet is to try it in San Francisco.
                                                                                          At home preparation would be too much of a hassle, since one would need to prepare the abalone by slow cooking them first in a broth made with Chicken, Chinese ham, pork spare ribs for at least 7 hours!

                                                                                          1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                            I'd have to agree. Bill would need to go to San Fran or NYC. I've tried Chinese food all over the US. Most of the time it's too Americanized. Far from authentic. Same goes for Chinese restaurants in LA (been to LA 6-7x). Toronto of course is a different story...LOTS of great Chinese restaurants. A few in Vancouver I guess. Most HK chefs immigrate to TO.

                                                                                            Bill can have my share when he comes to Toronto. :)

                                                                                            1. re: Charles Yu


                                                                                              Thank you. Not sure what might be available here (I cannot recall seeing any abalone on either a Japanese or Chinese menu), but the best that I have had was in New Orleans. My tennis doubles partner's family had several high-end Chinese restaurants, and his uncle did a wonder abalone.

                                                                                              We're in SF about once per month, so that is certainly an easy option. If you have a couple of favorite restaurants, I would greatly appreciate them. Normally, were in the Financial District, or SOMA, but cabs are fine with us.



                                                                                        2. re: BDD888

                                                                                          If I had two weeks to live, why would I stop at only one or two bottles???

                                                                                          Château Clinet, Château La Conseillante, Château l'Eglise-Clinet, Château l'Evangile, Château Feytit-Clinet, Château La Fleur-Pétrus, Château la Grave Trigant de Boisset, Château Lafleur-Gazin, Château Latour à Pomerol, Château Petit Village, Château Pétrus, Château Trotanoy, Vieux Château Certan

                                                                                          Château Angélus, Château Beau-Séjour Bécot, Château Chateau Beauséjour, Château Canon, Château Cheval Blanc, Clos Fourtet, Château Figeac, Château La Gaffelière, Château Pavie, Château Tertre Roteboeuf.

                                                                                          Washington State:
                                                                                          Andrew Will, L'Ecole No. 41, Leonetti, Northstar, Pepper Bridge, Seven Hills, Waterbrook, Woodward Canyon.

                                                                                          Beringer (Bancroft Ranch), Duckhorn, Paloma, Pride, Shafer, Storrs

                                                                                          1. re: zin1953

                                                                                            Leaving out Le Pin, Lafleur and Ausone??!!
                                                                                            BTW, I prefer sweet white Sauterne and Riesling over reds. Just my own preference!

                                                                                            1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                              My bad . . . although I should have included Le Pin and Lafleur, the omission of Ausone was intentional.

                                                                                            2. re: zin1953

                                                                                              All that in 2 weeks. Talking about going out with a bang!! :)

                                                                                                1. re: whiner

                                                                                                  Follow-up posted there as well . . .

                                                                                            3. re: BDD888

                                                                                              If you find it on a wine list, or in a store, have a go with the Beringer Howell Mtn. Bancroft Ranch Merlot. [Do not recall if I mentioned that one above - if so, just ignore.]

                                                                                              Jos. Phelps also does a nice varietal Merlot from Napa, but much of the "premium fruit" goes into the Insignia, which is a Bdx-style blend, but with a US twist.



                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                Thanks Bill but I have both on my shortlist already.

                                                                                                The Beringer is out of stock at Beringer. Perhaps one of the better known wine shops in LA will have a few bottles.

                                                                                                1. re: BDD888

                                                                                                  K & L Wines has an outlet in LA, so would be my first choice.

                                                                                                  Good luck, and hope that you enjoy it, as much as I do.


                                                                                                  PS - I'll take your share of Vancover abalone dishes (above)... [Grin]

                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                    Hi Bill,

                                                                                                    I'll definitely be visiting K&L/Hollywood location. Hope they have a decent selection of Napa and wines from France. But this won't be for a few months. Won't be there till some time in September.

                                                                                                    1. re: BDD888

                                                                                                      I have only dealt with the Redwood City store, BUT K&L is a top-notch organization, and I cannot imagine that any shop would not be up to those standards. They are a top shop, and hope that you both enjoy and find some great wines. Through yourself at yourself at the sales person's mercy. Explain what you like. and what you are in the market for. If you were at Redwood City, and wanted Bdx, Ralph Sands would be my rec. He'd take great care of you. Now, I do have to slip him one of my Diamondbacks suites, when his Giants play, or he'd never talk to ME, but he's a cool dude.



                                                                                                  2. re: BDD888


                                                                                                    I remember tasting the 1997. I was simply stunned, so much so I was frozen in time.
                                                                                                    I can still see the exact scene -- the table, the food, the man, the restaurant, the server -- all because of that particular wine.