The 2012 Braxton Hall Merlot graced our table on two different evenings this week: the first with a casual cheeseburger; the second tonight with a grilled boneless NY strip steak. Guiltily I confess potatoes – either one a “death row” choice for me – were the accompanying sides, and this red kept without issue over the four days between samplings.
Is it unusual for Merlot to be our grape of choice? Are we unnecessarily biased against Merlot after watching Sideways (2004)? Look at the numbers here in Notes and decide for yourself. Pinot Noir, Cab, and Bordeaux are obvious favorites if you look strictly to the math, tasting notes, or our top-rated reds. As over 19 million cases of California Merlot were sold in the U.S. alone in 2009, however, we are definitely swimming against the current if we have any such bias.
“This easy drinking wine offers aromas and flavors of cassis, black olive, and assorted berries.” That’s how the wine seller described the Braxton. I’d call it safe and right down the middle. The Braxton Hall is approachable, even, and mild. This vintage was solid – if unremarkable – and would be a fine option any time. Just not for a special occasion.