How long has it been since I've had a bottle of Merlot? I honestly can't remember. Well over a year, I suppose. But I thought a Merlot would be the perfect wine to accompany a nice, home style meatloaf and cauliflower puree tonight. The 2005 Markham Vineyards Merlot, Napa Valley has a pretty cranberry color and opens with an impressive aromatic salvo of vanilla bean, coffee, raspberry puree and licorice. The palate more or less follows the nose with similarly pleasant flavors and that certain, light "hollowness" that separates Merlot from Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and other Bordeaux varietals. Unfortunately, the palate seems to be marred by an odd acidity that I don't recall being a major component of Merlot. Finish is nice and long with moderate tannins. After a few hours, the wine takes on an intriguing, Tuscan-like tar component. Aside from the acidity, this is a very pleasing wine that went quite well with dinner.
Markham has been a Merlot specialist for as long as I can remember enjoying wine; back into the very early 90s. They are to be commended for holding the line on pricing. I remember their wines being priced in the low-mid teens in the early 90s and their current release Merlot can still be had in the low $20s.