Here I've got two Merlot reviews for your reading pleasure. Has the curse of Sideways finally worn off? Are restaurant servers still being hassled every time they suggest a Merlot to go with the meal?
First up is the 2003 Château Greysac from the Médoc section of Bordeaux. $20, 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot. Smoky, with notes of tobacco and a little cherry in the background. Closed at first but it developed well over dinner. Greysac remains a great bargain for those that want Bordeaux flavor at Rhone prices. It generally shows up on shelves five years after the vintage, when it's ready to drink. However, a bit more age wouldn't hurt.
And from the Pacific Northwest, an old love... the 2003 Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Merlot. Columbia Valley, Washington. $16. Cinnamon, burnt match aroma, with blackberry and cherry on the palate. I've had several vintages of this wine over the years, and am always pleased to come back to it. One funny note: I was enjoying the last of the bottle at night, listening to classic jazz and savoring the quiet serenity after the dinner guests have left and the kitchen has been cleaned. It was a remarkable wine almost to the last drop. I wasn't paying attention and my last sip was a mouthful of sediment, much like a bunch of coffee grounds if your French press has a leaky sieve. This is not the fault of the wine or the winery--proper decanting and simply keeping my eyes open would have prevented this, but I find it amusing nonetheless.