Good Morning Gentle Readers,
Wine Enthusiast dropped 90 points on this Carneros Merlot. Carneros is an appellation that includes portions of Sonoma and Napa Valleys.
Walter Schug still oversees the winemaking operations and as the creator of America's first Bordeaux style red wine, the legendary Joseph Phelps Insignia, his bona fides are impeccable.
That said, we would expect the Merlot to be a very good wine, and it is. A very good, ninety point wine, which is priced accordingly. The wine retails between $35.00 and $60.00, considerably more if you find it on the wine list at a fine eating establishment.
The question then becomes: Is the Schug Merlot enough better than other comparable wines to warrant the rather steep price tag? Perhaps it is, but I am not certain of that, which is why I have to assign price/value score of -35 on TWC's Standardized Wine Price/Value Ratio® scale.
Put simply, the Schug sells for approximately 35% more than several other well-crafted Merlots. I understand markets and demand curves. Sometimes it is better to sell fewer bottles and net the same bottom line. And if that works? Hey, this is America and we still have a relatively free market economy. At least in wines. But at the same time, I have to point out that there are quite a few excellent Merlots in the twenty dollar range.
Our “Heritage Reserve” Merlot features the Sangiacomo family’s “Donnell Ranch” in Carneros, just a stone’s throw north of our own Schug Estate vineyard. This vineyard teams up with the Ricci vineyard in Carneros to show what cool-climate Merlot is all about. The extremely long, cool Carneros growing season allows the fruit to ripen slowly developing maximum varietal character and depth of flavor while retaining bright acidity. It has a smoky, ripe cherry bouquet with hints of roasted coffee, a deep color and full-bodied flavors of cherry, cassis and chocolate. Try it now with lamb, duck and rich cheeses, or age it for 5 to 7 years.