by Fred McMillin
for February 26, 1997

An Appealing Merlot

This '95 Merlot has a lot of appeal because...

  • There's plenty of backbone from the 22% Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Nine months in French and American oak added easily-detected spice and vanilla to the mix.
  • You can find it; production was over 800,000 bottles.
  • And finally, there's nothing more appealing than the price, $10
1995 Merlot, Appellation—California
Tessera Wines
By the Seagram Classics Wine Company
Rutherford, Napa Valley, CA
Contact—Sara Moore, (800)709-7667

Category: Highly Recommended In Its Price Range


Question: What do these three men have in common?

  • Cary Gott—Has been a hands-on president of important wineries both on the California coast and inland. He knows where the good Merlot grows.

  • Greg Fowler—Has been blending the individual cuvees at Mumm Napa Valley for the last decade.

  • Phil Franscioni—Phil has handled winemaking at four major Califonia wineries, including the last decade at the Monterey Vineyard Winery.
Answer: What they have in common is the creation of Tessera wines. Cary picks out the grapes, Phil converts them to wine, and Greg blends the individual batches. That's a lot of talent for ten bucks!

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

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