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Great Wine: Frog’s Leap Merlot



Price Range : $38 - 42

Region: Rutherford, Napa Valley, California Ready to Drink: 4-5 years after bottle vintage

Full disclosure upfront: we have an unabashed love for this winery. Why? Because owner and winemaker John Williams (yes, there is another well-known John Williams out there other than the one responsible for the Star Wars theme) appears to ask himself at every turn, across every popular grape varietal the winery produces: What is the best wine we can make at the most reasonable price possible? And FROG’S LEAP doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously yet makes seriousness business out of making wine that is artisanal, pure and transparent while adhering to strict sustainable and organic farming practices. There is a value system in practice here, which, to our publication, is so very aligned with the most earnestly-held values of everyday wine enthusiasts. This makes it very easy to recommend their wines, which we have done consistently.

Wine & Spirits uses the word “gracious” to describe Frog’s Leap’s Merlot, and that’s really the perfect word for it. The 2011 bottling is perhaps even more so, as the vintage was a cold and rainy one, which brought about, generally speaking, lighter textures to red wines of the Napa Valley that year. With its gracious notes of red currant and red cherries, along with the acidity of young plums and a hint of sweet, savory spice and green tea on mid-palate, and a touch of milk chocolate on the finish, this is Merlot that’s so drinkable—light on its feet (12.7% ABV) but substantial and lengthy. This red is soft-spoken, elegant in texture and pretty. So many Napa Merlots want to impress you by turning up the volume; this one enchants you with a whisper.  –J.M.


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November 15, 2015