The 2008 Castle Rock Napa Valley Merlot is sourced from several Napa Valley vineyards. Castle Rock has an interesting approach to producing wine, they do not own their own vineyards, but have long term contracts with vineyards all over California, Oregon and Washington. The don’t produce just one Merlot, but 3 Merlot’s from Napa, Mendocino and Columbia Valley. They have 10 Pinot Noir’s sourced from 10 different AVA’s. If you are interested in what is the difference in a Merlot grown in Napa Valley compared to a Merlot sourced from Columbia Valley, they have got you covered for a price that is probably well under $15 (I found the Napa Valley Merlot for $11.99). They do this for all the usual grape varietals. The grapes for this Merlot were harvested in Sept 2008 and it was bottled in June 2010, so it seems it spent over a year in French oak barrels. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is a dark burgundy red with a pink halo. The nose is a sawdust, blackberry, black plums, Hershey’s chocolate bar and a slight medicinal band-aid aroma. There is a smooth, velvety mouthfeel. It starts with blackberry, sour cherry, French vanilla, pomegranate and Nestle’s Quik powder. The mid palate adds some stiff tannins, they are sensed but do not bite, softer blueberry and orange zest. The finish is full, smooth and very long.
The 2008 Castle Rock Napa Valley Merlot gives you a reason to drink Merlot again. So many Merlot’s are nondescript, but the Castle Rock is an old school, meat and potato, Steakhouse Napa Merlot. Slap a couple of steaks on the grill, wrap a couple of potatoes in aluminum foil and throw them on the grill too, toss together a Caesar’s salad and pull the cork on the Castle Rock Napa Merlot and you will have the same experience folks have been having since 1952. All that is missing is the leather booth seats and the red velvet wall paper.