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Markham Merlot 2006

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
  • CG88
13.8% ABV
  • WS89
  • WW89
  • WS91
  • WS89
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3.0 1 Ratings
13.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Color: Dark Ruby.

Aroma: Layers of cola, root beer, vanilla and mocha.

Taste: Ripe cherry flavors are held together with big, grippy tannins that fill the palate.

Critical Acclaim

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CG 88
Connoisseurs' Guide
There was a time when Markham Merlots were about as good as it got in mid-priced versions of the grape. Changes of owner and winemaker found the wine faltering, but, in this vintage, the winery has got it right. Its caramelly oak overlay and its likeable fruit start its aromas out nicely, and the progression in the mouth from supple to firm is well-supported by that fruit. Enjoy it now or in a few years.
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Markham

Markham Vineyards

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Markham Vineyards, , California
Markham
In 1972, Bruce Markham arrived in Napa Valley with the dream of starting a winery. Intent on crafting world-class wines for years to come, he purchased the "little jewels" that are still the Markham vineyards today. He was a pioneer in what is now the very heart of Napa, buying premium vineyard land before many understood the tremendous potential the valley offered for producing fine wines. He also purchased a winery. Originally established by Jean Laurent, the Markham winery dates back to 1879. As one of the founders of Napa winemaking and viticulture, Markham Vineyards takes great pride in its legacy of exceptional mountains and magnificent vineyards, Markham's winery has the distinction of being the fourth oldest continuously operated winery in Napa County.

Today, Markham Vineyards owns 350 acres of vineyards strategically located in several of Napa Valley's best growing regions. From its Calistoga vineyards in the north to Oak knoll in the south, Markham has the luxury of hand-selecting grapes from several diverse microclimates to achieve its balanced and rich wines. Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls sums up the benefits offered by this extraordinary palette of vineyards: "The expressions of terroir from each unique location create a greater whole; each vineyard complements and elevates the next. The result is endless blending options to weave together the rich fruit flavors, elegant acid structure, broad texture and velvety tannins we want in our wines."

St. Emilion

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Marked by its historic fortified village—perhaps the prettiest in all of Bordeaux, the St-Émilion appellation, along with its neighboring village of Pomerol, are leaders in quality on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant red wines (complemented by various amounts of Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon) remain some of the most admired and collected wines of the world.

St-Émilion has the longest history in wine production in Bordeaux—longer than the Left Bank—dating back to an 8th century monk named Saint Émilion who became a hermit in one of the many limestone caves scattered throughout the area.

Today St-Émilion is made up of hundreds of independent farmers dedicated to the same thing: growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon). While always roughly the same blend, the wines of St-Émilion vary considerably depending on the soil upon which they are grown—and the soils do vary considerably throughout the region.

The chateaux with the highest classification (Premier Grand Cru Classés) are on gravel-rich soils or steep, clay-limestone hillsides. There are only four given the highest rank, called Premier Grand Cru Classés A (Chateau Cheval Blanc, Figeac, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vienyards in the appellation are on flatter land where the soils are a mix of gravel, sand and alluvial matter.

Great wines from St-Émilion will be deep in color, and might have characteristics of blackberry liqueur, black raspberry, licorice, chocolate, grilled meat, earth or truffles. They will be bold, layered and lush.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

SWS288875_2006 Item# 102706

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