Bottle Notes, Merlot

1997 Pahlmeyer Merlot – Bottle Notes

Pahlmeyer was founded in the mid-1980s when Jayson Pahlmeyer, a Bay Area lawyer, decided he preferred thinking about wine over reading legal briefs. Pahlmeyer produced its debut vintage in 1986. Bibiana González Rave is the current winemaker. Wines produced at Pahlmeyer include the flagship Proprietary Red, Merlot, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Crimson in color. 14.5% ABV. Fantastic nose of red fruits, chocolate and leather. Rich, plush and hedonistic. Full bodied with ample acidity. Cherries, cassis, spiced plums and tobacco on the palate. The finish is exceedingly long. For my money, one of the very best domestic Merlot’s ever produced. In a class with the ’92 Leonetti Merlot and the ’92 Beringer Howell Mountain Merlot Bancroft Ranch. Stunning wine and a treat at twenty years of age on Father’s Day. Drink soon.

My rating: 96 points.

It is worth noting that the wines Helen Turley made at Pahlmeyer from 1995-1997 are true benchmarks for California. I have a few bottles each of the ’96 and ’97 Proprietary Red that I look forward to opening in the next year or so.

Pahlmeyer wines are readily available at retail and via the winery. Current vintages of Pahlmeyer Merlot should set you back about $80. I’ve already secured a few bottles.

While we are at this, what is the best domestic Merlot you have ever had? I would love to see your comments below.

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4 thoughts on “1997 Pahlmeyer Merlot – Bottle Notes

  1. Best domestic Merlot I’ve ever had was the 1999 Leonetti Merlot. I still mentally compare any other Merlot to that one. Sad to say it’s definitely on the decline now and not what it used to be, but it has held up well overall. Other favorite domestic Merlots would be 1997 Kongsgaard Merlot, 2012 Pepper Bridge Merlot, and the 2009 Northstar Premier Merlot.

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