Wine Advocate 87 points - Kendall-Jackson has made a major effort to increase the quality of Merlot, because of the climbing sales of this varietal and all the negative publicity Merlot received (unfairly) after the breakthrough wine comedy, “Sideways.” The 2012 Merlot Vintner’s Reserve, which comes from their estate vineyards in Sonoma, represents 126,000 cases of a blend of 97% Merlot and the rest Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Only about 16% new oak is used, and both French and American are employed. This is relatively serious Merlot, with notes of ripe black cherry, coffee bean, a hint of chocolate and herbs. This is medium-bodied, fleshy, deep and ideal for drinking over the next 5-6 years. (Dec 2014)
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Aromas and flavors of plum, black cherry and blueberry, complemented by vanilla and toasty oak complexities. A great pairing with roast red meats, duck and game.