Home Wine Regions Californian Wine 181 Merlot

How about another merlot review?  I thought you’d like that idea.

181. You may have seen this wine or another one from the Noble Vines family in shops and wondered what it’s all about.  The labels are simple.  It’s just a number and a varietal name.  But what does it mean?

The numbers represent vine clones.  Clones of grape vines are given numbers to classify them so that the same clone can be reproduced with an expected set of characteristics.  Each of the vine clones in the Noble Vines family come from France but are matched to vineyards in California that the producers feel are best suited to each clone.

The 181 Merlot clone was matched to a red clay soil in Lodi, California that supposedly is similar to soils in Pomerol, an appellation in Bordeaux.  I’m not a soil scientist, so I cannot confirm or deny the validity of that assertion.  And, unfortunately, I don’t have the disposable income to drink many Pomerol wines and therefore cannot speak to the comparison to those wines (FYI, in case you didn’t know, wines from Pomerol tend to be rather pricey.)

But what I can tell you is that this wine is really, really good.  And it’s an exceptional bargain regardless of whether it tastes anything like wines from Pomerol.

181 Merlot

The fruit aromas from this merlot stand out.  There is a distinct black cherry and plum characteristic that dominates the nose of this wine, but it also shows some spice with vanilla and nutmeg notes. The palate is also dominated by black cherry and plum, but it is nicely balanced with a hint of spice.  The concentration of flavor is just right and the acidity and tannins are also well proportioned.  It finishes slightly tart and with a silky feeling.

This is an elegant and enjoyable merlot.  One I will gladly drink again.

Wine: 181 Merlot
Variety: Merlot
Vintage: 2010
Alcohol: 14%
Rating: 89
Price: $11.00

Find 181 Merlot with Snooth

Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample.

1 reply to this post
  1. I just discovered this wine (Noble Vines 181) in the “affordable” section at a local wine shop. I was skeptical what is was going to offer as it was priced at “special”. Tried it and found it to be really good. I immediately went back to buy 2 cases at only $5 a bottle. The Noble 242 Sauvignon Blanc is also very good.

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