Tag Archives: merlot

CK Mondavi Merlot

CK Mondavi Merlot


Cost: $6.99

Where buy now: Stores nationwide

Grapes: 80% Merlot, 4% Syrah, 4% Petit Verdot, 4% Petite Sirah and 8% “other”

Region: Wild Creek Canyon, California

Vintage: 2012

It’s a new year, full of possibilities. New exercise regimes, new dieting fads, new budget dedication, and any other new resolution that will most likely fade as we enter the second month of the new year.


My biggest resolution this year is to get my budget in check. I’ve been spending like an asshole on wines all in the name of “research” [burrrp]. If I EVER want to put in that oh-so-desired wine cellar and continue my international travels, I need to reign it in!  But I will not sacrifice taste.  Well…


Just as I’m committed to tightening up my budget, I’m committed to drinking wine, dammit. I’m kicking this year off with a CK Mondavi Merlot.  With a mere $6.99 price tag, this has weeknight “skank” wine “sampling” written all over it. It’s a no frills bottle of red that’s as easy to drink as it is to open (thanks to the twist-off cap).


This wine is a burst of cherry and plum flavors. It’s quite fruit forward but not like actual grape juice. (I found the CK Mondavi Cab Sav to, ahem, embody more of that fruit juice flavor.) This, at least, has some oaky hints, which provide some structure.


Again, this CK Mondavi Merlot isn’t some Master Sommelier-caliber, complex, expensive, multi-layered vino. It is however, shall we say, community college-fortified. It’s practical and will give you what you want without breaking the bank.

Happy New Year’s and now, I’m off to visit the gym. . .for the THIRD time this year.

HIP “The Bourgeoisie” Merlot by Hedges Family Estate

Cost: Average price $13

Where buy now: Solo Vino, Zipp’s Liquors

Grapes: Merlot

Region: Washington

Vintage: 2011

HIP The Bourgeoisie Merlot

I’d go gay for Shane!

I know I’m late to the show The L Word, but I found myself streaming one episode after another. I stole the above line from Clementine Ford, aka “Molly Kroll” (Cybill Shephard’s both on-screen and real life daughter, FYI). She plays a straight woman who finds herself falling for Katherine Moennig, aka lesbian lothario “Shane McCutcheon.”  I was instantly drawn to this Shane character: a raven-haired, dark-eye make-up wearing yet semi-androgynous chick with a sexy deep voice. She is all lesbian but not in the stereotypical plaid adorning, rat-tail sporting, second date moving-in, softball playing, fanny pack wearing, large canine wielding kind of way. She has major commitment issues, loves to be promiscuous and has all the women swooning at her feet. I was beginning to feel helpless in the presence of her tantalizing, velvety macho powers.

Or, it could have been the bottles of HIP (House of Independent Producers) Merlot that I continuously drank throughout each episode that had me all hot and bothered.

I have enjoyed every bottle of wine I’ve had from Hedges Estate Family of vineyards. I picked up the HIP Merlot at Solo Vino, and polished it off in two episodes. I went back and bought 3 more. That should have tied me over for an entire season but alas; it just had me gayer for Shane and “out” more bottles of Merlot.

What’s so special about this wine? This wine is a product of a single Washington State vineyard, named Bacchus. It just rubs me the right way. I love the way it smells: dark and dank red berries, tobacco, earth with hints of eucalyptus.  I love the way its silky texture slides along my tongue and tickles the back of my throat before I swallow. I love the finish, lingering enough to not overstay its welcome but leave you wanting more.

I fell in love with this wine and was ready to U-haul with it the same night I tried it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I haven’t hopped the train to Lez-ville but I can see how easy it is to fall for something that tickles your fancy [parts].

Now can you see how I could become confused? Was it the wine? Or was it Shane? The Bourgeoisie or Shane’s joie de vivre? I guess I’ll settle for the wine. At least that’s attainable.


C.M.S. by Hedges Family Estate

Cost: Average price $13

Where buy now: Stinson Wine & Spirits

Grapes: 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot & 12% Syrah

Region: Columbia Valley, Washington

Vintage: 2010

Hedges Estate CMS Columbia Valley

I’m such a bonehead for not yet writing about the wines I’ve enjoyed from Hedges Family Estate! This C.M.S. is now the third varietal I’ve savored, and I have NO excuse for not sharing the first two with y’all. I’m a complete fan and trust any wine they produce. Let me tell you why you should, too.

Hedges Family Estate, out of Washington State, is run by Washington born and raised Tom Hedges, and his French wife, Anne Marie. They both cut their teeth working for large vinyards in the 70s. In the 80s, they created their own wine exporting company and their own {tip Merchants who purchase grapes, juice or bulk wine from small farmers, which they then produce, bottle and market on a larger scale under the négociant’s label.}négociant{/tip} called Hedges Cellars. An opportunity arose 3 hours East of Seattle in an up and coming wine region called Red Mountain. Volia! From the get-go, the Hedges Family Estate began making wine in a biodynamic way, very much working symbiotically with the terroir. While this may sound trendy or cliche these days, it was not the norm 25-30 years ago.

The marriage of American and French styles really emerges through their wine: New World but in an Old World way. Let’s chat about this C.M.S. which stands for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah (though I like to think it’s something like “Coat My Stomach”, “Crush Me, Studmuffin”, or “Caress My Slippery-stuffs”). The blend is nothing less than superlative.

Deep ruby juice fills your glass and aromas of black cherry, raspberry and toasty cocoa waft up your nose. It drinks like a New World wine, fruit forward with hints of toasted vanilla and chocolate. An “any occasion” wine, it’s medium bodied and pleasingly smooth with balanced tannins and acidity. Not too sweet, not too dry, with a decent little finish on it. I served it to guests and everyone liked it the best of all the wines we tried that evening. I’ve also been impressed by their Bacchus Merlot and their unoaked HIP Chardonnay (drinks more like a French Chablis, my fave American unoaked Chard to date!). You easily can spot their wines by their fetching labels featuring uniquely modern, yet baroque fonts.

Open this bottle day or night, weeknight or weekend. Sit back and enjoy a beautifully balanced estate made glass of wine. You’ll be impressed. I know I found a new staple- especially for the price!