You know how you’re supposed to open the best wine first? Well, this happened to be the second bottle I opened for dinner, after a Merlot from another country turned out to be very lackluster. I poured this one, sniffed, and wow! Complex and familiar aromas, elements of black cherry, no make that black currant, with leather too, and leaf and forest underneath; the same on the palate, too. Good body, integrated tannins, and a medium-long finish. I made notes, then whisked the bottle off the table so I could try it again the next day. Yes, it really delivered, once again. At dinner, it worked especially well with garlicky beef. One negative: the bottle for this vintage was very heavy; hopefully they’ve reduced their carbon footprint since then. Highly recommended.

WHO: Summers Estate Winery
WHAT: Merlot
WHERE: Alexander Valley, California
WHEN: 2006
HOW MUCH: around $23 (Media sample)

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About The Author

Becky Sue Epstein
International Editor

Becky Sue Epstein is Palate Press’s International Editor. An experienced writer, editor, broadcaster, and consultant in the fields of wine, spirits, food, and travel, her work has appeared in many national and international publications including Intermezzo Magazine, Fine Wine & Liquor, Art & Antiques, Luxury Golf & Travel, Food + Wine, and Wine Spectator. She began her career as a restaurant reviewer for the Los Angeles Times while working in film and television. Epstein is also the author of several books on wine, spirits, and food, including Champagne: A Global History; Brandy: A Global History, and Strong, Sweet and Dry: A Guide to Vermouth, Port, Sherry, Madeira, and Marsala.

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