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Tangley Oaks Merlot 2009

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
  • WS88
13.9% ABV
  • TP91
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3.3 2 Ratings
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3.3 2 Ratings
13.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Medium garnet. Rich plums, dark cherries, chocolate and savory herbs. Lush plums and cherry fruit with undertones of mocha.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WS 88
Wine Spectator
Balanced and nicely focused, with a fresh beam of red currant, cedar and tomato leaf flavors that finish with sleek tannins.
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Tangley Oaks

Tangley Oaks

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Tangley Oaks, Napa Valley, California
The wines of Tangley Oaks symbolize the majesty of California's native oak trees. Much like these grand trees, the grape varietals selected for Tangley Oaks wines represent the enduring legacy of California winemaking. With respect to this rich tradition, each appellation and grape varietal have been carefully selected to best represent the quality of Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley and the Central Coast. Just as these appellations have been carefully selected and cultivated by the great wine masters, it only follows that Tangley Oaks winemakers are as particular when selecting the lots for each bottle.

These lot numbers are printed on the bottles of Tangley Oaks wines, and are a testament to the true expression of the grape varietal, the vintage and the appellation. In short, they indicate the wine is the very best of the vintage. During the winemaking process, Tangley Oaks winemakers follow all the time-honored methods until they reach a critical point. This is when the Tangley Oaks winemakers must select the lots — representing the absolute best parcels from the vineyards that are worthy of bottling.

Each member of the Tangley Oaks winemaking team tastes through each lot, carefully assessing the fruit, balance and tannins. This process is repeated for every varietal. Only when the winemaking team fully agrees on the one lot that best represents the varietal, appellation and vintage is the lot number chosen. This is the only way to select the best quality wines for the most discriminating palates.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

EMP680905_2009 Item# 117106