Are you keeping up with your New Year resolutions? One of mine was to drink more Merlot. Good Merlot. The kind with proper varietal character: dark fruit, spice, and enough tannic grip for all your favorite comfort foods. It should be an easy resolution to keep, except for one problem – good Merlot is hard to find! Since everyone’s Cab-crazy, Merlot tends to be either really cheap and really BLAH, or pretty pricey (and pretty good! but under 20 bucks is always better!). Luckily, there’s still value to be found in California’s Central Coast, where the family behind Paris Valley Road has grown grapes for three generations. From their estate vines in Monterey, just 35 miles from the Pacific coast, this Merlot is the real deal – dry, loaded with fruit, and a can’t-beat-it regular price of $15.
Paris Valley Road Merlot – $15
Sourced primarily from estate vineyards in southern Monterrey County, aged for 18 months in 20% new oak, with a splash of Petite Sirah for an added kick. Dark and ripe, with plenty of black fruit aromas and flavors shaded by chocolate and baking-spice nuances. Pair with cheddar cheeseburgers, meatballs, and playoff football.