Under its J.D. Hurley label, Martin Ranch Winery makes several varietals, including Chardonnay, Carignane, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, and Merlot.
For its 2013 Merlot, grapes were harvested from the Santa Clara Valley and then aged 24 months in 50 percent new and 50 percent neutral French and American oak—resulting in a Merlot that will pair perfectly with meat dishes, or just to enjoy on its own. It’s well deserving of the 91 points scored by Wine Enthusiast magazine.
Produced by husband-and-wife winemaking team Dan and Therese Martin, this 2013 Merlot is exceptional. Here’s what they say about it: “Distinctively Santa Clara Valley terroir, this Merlot hints of plum and blackberry with a velvety vanilla middle. The finish is kissed with a hint of chocolate as you linger through your glass.” At around $25, it’s reasonably priced and can be found in many local supermarkets and wine shops, as well as at the Martin Ranch tasting room.
The Martins are justly proud of the winery they have built in Gilroy. It’s a beautiful, bucolic spot to visit—especially for one of the fun special events it holds periodically.
Merlot went through the wringer after the movie Sideways came out in 2004. Slammed as “flabby” by actor Paul Giamatti’s character, Miles, who much preferred Pinot Noir, sales of Merlot plummeted for a while. But folks came to their senses and started buying Merlot again—and, well, it’s all a long time ago now … Here’s to continuing to drink a heck of a lot of Merlot, I say!
Martin Ranch Winery, 6675 Redwood Retreat Road, Gilroy, 408-842-9197, martinranchwinery.com. Open every first and third weekend of the month noon to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
I had to laugh at a recent posting from Beauregard Winery’s Ryan Beauregard in which he has a “little rant” about bad wine, particularly Rosé. “Rosé is and always has been a serious wine,” he says, declaring that he has 220 bottles left of his “totally kick-ass” Rosé from his “prestigious Coast Grade Vineyard.” We can trust him on this one.
Beauregard Vineyards, 10 Pine Flat Road, Bonny Doon, 425-7777. beauregardvineyards.com.