IMG_20140328_135408Merlots are a tricky wine, in general.   They often lack the depth of the cabs and the spiciness of the syrahs.   Too many winemakers have transformed this versatile grape into a soft and flabby wine when it can and should be rich, elegant and a great accompaniment to good food.    Sure, it may not grab your taste buds like some cabs, but it can bring out the flavors of beef or lamb like the finest sea salt or home-grown herbs.   Here in the U.S., Columbia Crest and Milbrandt have been producing some very decent value merlot.  We’ve not found too many Napa-grown merlot value wines.  Kirkland Signature has offered merlots in the past, but they never really impressed…..until now.

Kirkland just introduced its Signature Series Oakville Merlot (2012), and they must have gotten their hands on some excellent Napa juice, because it is knock-down delicious.   Over three-days this lovely wine produced some very pleasing, aromatic, oaky vanilla plum flavors with a full mouthfeel, and medium-long with a taste of cocoa.   Like any good merlot, it went down smooth.  It was at its best on the second day, but came out of the bottle with little, or no, bite.   It takes the L out of flab – this is a fab wine.   We wish they’d knocked a few bucks off the price to compete with the two Washington merlots, but we suspect they are charging for the Napa name.  Try it out; you might find it is worth stocking up if it is on sale at Costco.

Price at Costco: $14.99