2017 Howell Mountain Luna Vineyards Merlot

Image of a bottle of 2017 Howell Mountain Luna Vineyards Merlot

Variety: 100% Merlot
Region: Napa, California
Cost: $48 (SRP)

Winemaker’s Notes: Dark chocolate covered cherries, licorice, & coffee beans on the nose. Cassis lingers with notes of cedar and a cocoa powder finish on the palate. Pair with Bordelaise steak & frites, gourmet burger, and aioli.

My Review: I’m increasingly getting into Merlot. I know there’s lots of really good merlot out there, but I also remember years ago when it was being produced in such volumes in California that it just wasn’t that good, and it put a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended) on the wine. Fortunately, good vintages during my time in Virginia and trying the grape from different countries and regions helped me to get over my hesitance around California Merlot (and Cabernet to be fair).

Which is why, during the recent Marathon Sale from Last Bottle Wines, I grabbed a bottle of 2017 Howell Mountain Luna Vineyards Merlot. I’m super glad that I did.

In the glass the wine was a deep, opaque reddish purple color. On the nose I got aromas of spice, ripe berry, cherry, chocolate, herbs, and oak. In the mouth, the wine was dry, with a medium body and flavors of spice, ripe berries, cassis, oak, chocolate, and coffee.

My wife and I paired the wine with short ribs that I braised for more than 5 hours in a mushroom wine sauce, and the wine was an amazing pairing. The dark notes of the wine were an amazing compliment to the deep, earthy flavors of the short ribs.

I should disclose that because of buying the wine through Last Bottle I only paid $26 for it, but sipping on this wine shows that it’s more than worth the $48 list price; it’s a great wine to drink now, but I think you could sit on it for a few years (if you have more patience than me) and those deep, dark flavors will just continue to develop and add more nuance and character to the wine.

Definitely one to grab for your next special night or if you have a piece of steak you plan to treat well and want a wine that will do it justice.

About George Perry 890 Articles
A wine lover for as long as I can remember, I hope that my thoughts on wine can help others to make decisions on what they should drink as well.