The Franciscan Estate Napa Valley Merlot has an SRP of $23 and is available for as low as $15. 58,257 cases produced. Sample submitted for review.
From the bottle:
At Franciscan Estate, we devote ourselves to crafting wines from our estate vineyards and other cooler vineyards of Napa Valley for rich flavor and supple body. Aged 18 months in small oak barrels, this elegant and lush Merlot shows aromas of red plum, black cherry and soft spice.
While Cabernet Sauvignon gets all the attention in the Napa Valley there are plenty of other varieties grown here. A reliable strategy for Reverse Wine Snobs is often to look beyond the big name grapes (and the big prices) to find the varieties that fly below the radar. Afterall, if one variety grows well there, shouldn't there be others as well?
The 2013 Franciscan Estate Napa Valley Merlot begins with an excellent and captivating aroma of plum, blackberry and violets plus licorice, anise, vanilla, mint and hints of chocolate. It's a delight to sniff and swirl. Tasting the wine reveals it to be smooth and delicious with good complexity, richness of fruit and plenty of other things going on to keep it interesting. All the characteristics of the nose come through at various points when tasting and combine seamlessly to make for a fantastic wine. It actually tastes a bit more like a Cabernet than a Merlot so even if you're not normally a Merlot drinker you should really give this one a try. It ends with a mouth-drying, really long and lingering finish.
See a listing of local retailers selling the Franciscan Estate Napa Valley Merlot here.