GoR-2006-merlotThe first Grapes of Roth merlot release since Wolffer absorbed the brand, the Grapes of Roth 2006 Merlot ($44) reflects the less-than-perfect growing season, but still maintains the reputation the label has earned since debuting with a 2001 merlot.

Nutty oak and loamy earth lead the way on the nose, with understated fruit in the form of dried cherries and blueberries beneath.

Meaty and mouth-filing, the palate features cottony tannins that frame restrained, slightly tired fruit flavors that mingle with toasty oak, graphite and a dried mint note. On day one, the finish shows a slightly bitter edge that softens on day two, when the wine is more harmonious and smooth.

Producer: Wolffer Estate Vineyard
North Fork of Long Island
Yields: 2.22 tons/acre
ABV: 13.5%
TA: 3.9 g/l
pH: 3.83
Oak Program: 40% new and 60% 1-year French barrique
Production: 220 cases
Price: $44*

(3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)