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Barrel to Bottles » January 2008

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Four years since the release of Alexander Payne’s Sideways, it’s hard not to recall Paul Giammatti’s line when buying a bottle of Merlot. What about Merlot so inflamed Miles that he refused to drink any? For this first theme of 2008, we explore four Merlot wines from four different regions. Medium-bodied and fruit-forward, these easy-drinking wines had us clamoring: “More f**cking Merlot, please!”

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Francis Coppola Blue Label Merlot 2005

is part the legendary filmmaker’s Diamond Collection and a combination of Merlot grapes from Napa, Sonoma, and Monterey.

You’ll find hints of plum and peach along with a bit of smokiness in this food-friendly wine. Note the rich ruby-red color, which comes from the very small amount of Syrah added during fermentation. Try with roasted lamb or a hearty tomato-sauce pasta dish.

Price: $16.99

Buy it at:
Landmark Wine
167 West 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011
www.landmarkwines.com

Borgo Maddalena Merlot Delle Venezie 2004

comes from the Veneto region of Italy, known especially for their prosecco, but also a prolific red wine region.

This tangy wine gives a unique first impression with its mix of plum and blackberry notes. We preferred the result after decanting, and paired it nicely with a roast chicken with rosemary and garlic.
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Price: $15.99

Buy it at:
111 Lex Wines and Liquors
111 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY 10016
www.111lexliquors.com

Domaine La Millière Vin de Pays de Vaucluse 2006

comes from the southern Rhône region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape in France where over ninety percent of its wines are red.

For a young wine, the Domaine La Millière shows a great deal of character with its complex taste of berries and earthiness. We enjoyed this wine with a chicken and sun-dried tomato topped pizza, although buttered scallops or grilled swordfish would have been super, too.

Price: $12.99

Buy it at:
Winfield-Flynn, LTD
Fine Wine & Spirits

558 Third Avenue (37th St.)
New York, NY 10016

Laurel Lake Vineyards Merlot 2004

hails from the North Fork of Long Island and is one of the oldest vineyards in the region.

Acquired by Chilean investors in 1999, Laurel Lake Vineyards produces Merlot that exhibits Chilean qualities of intense fruit, subtle smokiness, and vanilla. We paired the wine with a roast turkey sandwich and wished we always had wine with our sandwiches.
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Price: $15.99

Buy it at:
Vintage New York SoHo
482 Broome St. (Wooster)
New York, NY 10013
www.vintagenewyork.com




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