Noble Vines 181 Merlot 2020

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Noble Vines 181 Merlot 2020

The Noble Vines 181 Merlot 2020 is $7.99 at Costco, anywhere from $8 to $14 online. Nobles Vines is a Delicato Family Vineyards brand that started in Lodi and expanded to Napa Valley and recently purchased Coppola wines in Sonoma.

The 181 in the title refers to the number of the Merlot Clone they planted in their Clay Station vineyard in Lodi. The 181 Merlot Clone originated in Pomerol in Bordeaux, France.

Noble Vines 181 Merlot 2020

Grape varietal clones are extremely important in winemaking, certain clones are better under certain conditions. Sometimes one clone does well when blended with another clone. High-end Pinot Noir is very clone dependent. Clones are not that important in value-priced, where acquiring good grapes is more important than a specific clone.

Noble Vines did not offer does not offer production notes for the Noble Vines 181 Merlot 2020 other than French and American oak for 3 months. Does that mean oak barrels? Or Is there another method being used?

This Merlot is sourced from Lodi grapes and the website mentions Delicato’s Clay Station vineyard which is located in Lodi. So it seems at least part of the grapes came from their Estate and possibly all the grapes, but it would not be unusual to source grapes from contracted vineyards. They may have also used Merlot clones other than the 181 clone. The alcohol content is 13.5%.

The Noble Vines 181 Merlot 2020 Tasting Notes

The color is a dark black cherry red with black highlights. The nose is ripe blueberry, a little chocolate brownie, cherry, spice, toasty vanilla, and violets. The Noble Vines 181 Merlot 2020 is a soft, smooth wine with rounded flavors balanced by a hit of spice.

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This Merlot tastes like blackberry, brown sugar, exotic spice, plum, and dark chocolate. The midpalate adds blueberry, oak spice, cranberry, and a touch of vanilla cream. The tannins are soft and stay out of the way and the acidity allows the flavors to unfold.

The Summary

  • The Noble Vines 181 Merlot 2020 is a quality way to reintroduce yourself to Merlot.
  • For some reason in the US Merlot went from being one of the great grapes from Bordeaux to an afterthought.
  • Face it, if you like Cabernet Sauvignon wines you will probably love Merlot, too.
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