Merlot is Back! Barrel Tasting the Bolen Family Estates Merlot (Napa)

Let’s play the word association game. When I say “Napa,” what type of wine comes to mind? Cabernet Sauvignon, right? Truth is, most of the Napa Cabs you’re drinking have other wines blended in to fill out the mouthfeel, contribute to the color, and add luscious fruit flavors to the final product… and those wines typically contains a significant amount of Merlot.

That’s right. Merlot!

You’re probably familiar with the bashing undertaken by Merlot from the movie Sideways, where the main “wine snob” character exclaimed, “I am not drinking any %&$!@ Merlot!” Well, he obviously didn’t try the Bolen Family Estates Merlot from the Oak Knoll District of Napa. ‘Cause if he did, it probably would have saved Merlot from being the “last kid picked for the kickball team” for the past few years (or, so to speak).

Meet Eric Bolen from Bolen Family Estates

In this short video, Eric takes us through the fermentation and blending process he uses to craft the perfect Merlot. His clear explanation of how each “lot” contributes to different components of the wine will help you pick out the nuances (aromas, flavors, texture, etc.), while making you appreciate the care and dedication he puts into his winemaking.

More on the Bolen Family Estates Reserve Merlot

The 2006 Reserve Merlot (made from 100% Merlot grapes) is the latest release from Bolen Family Estates. And… the 2007 vintage (pictured) will be available within the next few weeks. The grapes come from the Beckstoffer Orchard Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, which has the ideal climate and conditions for a longer growing season. The Bolen Family also harvests their Merlot grapes later than others in the area, in order to deliver a "unique flavor profile of deep red fruits and berries".

Two years of oak aging to "bring out some sweet spice and layers in the wine,", combined with the three fermentation methods explained in the video above, result in a deliciously well-balanced wine with beautiful fruit flavors of both red and dark berries, and a wonderful, lengthy finish (i.e. take time to enjoy between sips).

Under the direction of renowned Napa winemaker Tom Rinaldi, the Bolen Family has an unparalleled dedication to quality, while focusing on a single variety to deliver an inspiring Merlot experience.

You can buy this wine through their web site at BolenLegacy.com. On their site, you can also find directions to the tasting room (part of Silenus Vintners) on Highway 29 in Napa, where you can experience an intimate tasting and tour with Eric Bolen.

This gorgeous photo was taken by Penelope Moore, and posted to the Bolen Family Estates Facebook page.

More Merlot Love: It’s "Merlot Monday"

On Monday, June 28, join Bolen Family Estates as they celebrate the launch of "Merlot Monday" - an effort to bring Merlot back into the spotlight and celebrate your favorite Merlot wines. In addition to tweeting with the hashtag #MerlotMonday, you’re invited to celebrate in person at the VinTank office in downtown Napa. RSVP at: twtvite.com/MerlotMonday

Hopefully now you’re able to mock the Miles character from Sideways, and proclaim I love %&$!@ Merlot!