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by Fred McMillin
"Merlot is much easier to like than Cabernet Sauvignon because it is less tannic.
...Wine For Dummies by McCarthy & Mulligan
"Merlot is a kinder, gentler wine. Professionals say it has a "fuzzier" feel in the mouth compared to Cabernet's "more angular" sharpness.
...Wannabe Guide to Wine by Jack Mingo
"Merlot produces wines with more sugar than Cabernet, and yields wines that are less tannic and astringent, and ready sooner to drink."
...Encylopedia of Wine by Schoonmaker & Bespaloff
The Rest of the Story
Alright already! So the experts indicate that in the early years, Merlot is going to be more pleasant than Cabernet. Let's checkd it. We selected a Cab and a Merlot that had these similarities:
b) About 90% of the grapes came from two tracts of the same vineyard.
c) They were guided by the same two Sterling ace winemakers, Greg Fowler and Rob Hunter, (pictured alone).
d) From the same good vintage, 1977.
e) Same price, a very affordable $12.99.
The 15 tasters liked both wines, but one was rated 4% higher than its red rival. Sure enough, they agreed with the experts. The Merlot won. No upset. As for gender, the men gave the Merlot a larger margin over the Cab than did the ladies.
Looks like my group is part of what the Wall St. Journal calls the...
The Merlot Phenomenon
"Boom! That was the sound of Merlot exploding onto the American wine scene a few years ago... [part of that explosion was] a 1974 Sterling Merlot...elegant...silky." Those Wall Street words could be used for our 1997 winner:
Sterling Vintner's Collection Merlot, 1997
Not all experts endorse America's Merlot mania. E.g., Willie Gluckstern in his Wine Avenger has this advice for those who prefer Merlot to Cabernet: "Get a life."
Reference - The Wall Street Journal Guide to Wine, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher
This page created May 2000