I had the realization today that it has been a LONG time since the last installment of the Soccer Mom Sommelier — TOO long! While at the grocery store today I had the hankering for a rich, smooth merlot to enjoy after the girls were in bed and I spied a bottle of Beringer Founder’s Estate Merlot 2013 on sale for less than ten dollars!
I haven’t tried this particular bottle, but Beringer, though priced for the masses, is consistent in quality. I knew that it wouldn’t prove to be a disappointment like some of the last few new bottles I tasted. (One of the main reasons I haven’t written about wine lately!)
For some reason, when it comes to wine, merlot has gotten a bad rap. Somewhere along the way, this traditional grape has fallen somewhat out of favor– perhaps because so many jug wines are labeled “Merlot” when they actually could be anything, so people don’t even know what true merlot tastes like.
I used to be guilty of turning my nose when I saw merlot on the wine list, or heard that was what was being served at an event. Why? Who knows! It just seemed corny to drink merlot. But then I had the pleasure of drinking a quality merlot and my mind was changed.
What I love about merlot is that it is full-bodied and fruit-forward like most Cabernets. However, merlot often just seems “smoother” to me– a little less tannic and less oaky.
Tonight’s bottle (or rather, tonight’s glass) of Beringer Founder’s Estate Merlot was bursting with rich, ripe black fruits: plum, blackberry, currant, and black cherry danced in my mouth. There’s definitely some spice, so it would hold up well as a dinner wine. There’s also a soft floral note on the finish. All of this combines for a real treat– it’s a steal at $8 a bottle.
Another of my favorite merlots at this price point is Red Diamond Merlot (Washington), which might be just slightly more intense and appealing to Cabernet fans. And if you’re looking for a “splurge” bottle that’s still not going to break the bank, try Markham Merlot.
Insider Secret: Have you ever wondered how fancy restaurants always have perfectly spotless wine glasses? They use special polishing cloths! This Riedel Microfiber Polishing Cloth was a lifesaver when I used to have to clean and polish 50 wine glasses every night before I left work! It would make an awesome gift for the wine-lover in your life — if you don’t keep it for yourself 🙂
Check back next month for a new wine pick from the Soccer Mom Sommelier! Feel free to share any awesome wines you’ve found lately too!