Kendall-Jackson Merlot Review (2021) – Vintner’s Reserve

Kendall-Jackson Merlot Featured

What Kind of Wine Is Kendall-Jackson Merlot?

It is crafted from the Merlot grape variety, which is famous for giving fruity and light reds. But, as a versatile grape, it can also give medium-to-full-bodied vintage wines with extra complicated nature. And to achieve complexity, the grapes are harvested as late as possible to generate the maximum feasible degree of intense purple color, concentrated dark fruit, and soft tannins. These wines are then matured in new oak to add toasty flavors and hints of spices and nuts. This winemaking style is very successful in the United States, among other countries.

California’s Mediterranean climate has a pivotal role in wine production, as it provides warmth to the vines in Sonoma County, which is an important center of wine production comparable to Napa Valley. Successful Merlot examples showcase intense aromas of red cherries, blackberries, plums, and vanilla spice, as well as flavors of chocolate and mocha. Some even might have been declared Vintage and undergone some aging as Kendall-Jackson. In that case, get ready to experience California’s juiciest and ripest rowing season.


Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Merlot Review

  • Winery — Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates
  • Country/Region — United States, Sonoma County, California
  • Type — Red Wine From California
  • Aroma — Red Cherries, Strawberries, Black Currant, Smoke, Cocoa, Coffee, Vanilla Spice, Charred Oak
  • Grapes — Merlot
  • Taste — Black Cherries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Red Plum, Chocolate, Tobacco, Leather, Earth, Mushroom
  • Alcohol Content — 14.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Grilled Lamb Racks, Tomahawk Steak, Beef Stroganoff, Beef Hamburger, Pizza

Kendall-Jackson is a Californian vintage Merlot from Sonoma County, and it is incredible. It encapsulates the growing conditions of this unique wine region. The wine is smooth, medium-to-full-bodied, and generously fruity with dark cherry and plum sensations.

Furthermore, it is silky, approachable, and deep in concentration, with complexity around its supple tannin profile and integrated oak. Its smokiness also is ever-present, and along with its inherent chocolate sensations, make the wine distinctive. Consequently, Kendall-Jackson Merlot is delicious and an absolute treat to wine enthusiasts on the lookout for a complicated but approachable vintage wine.

Overall Rating: 4.2

Positives
  • Super Delicious
  • Fruity But Complicated
  • Bold Vintage Character
  • Very Affordable For Its Premium Quality
Negatives
  • Maybe Too Smokey For Some

Tasting Notes

If Kendall-Jackson Merlot wine is something, then that is distinctive. Having a smooth and round mouthfeel that showcases an endless amount of dark and berry flavors, Kendall-Jackson Merlot is a gem of Californian winemaking. A short sniff and a swirl are enough to convince that the wine has been produced with a passion for fine wine as its fruity character is balanced perfectly by aromas of smoke and vanilla spice.

On the mouth, it continues to impress as aromas of chocolate blend marvelously with notes of red cherries and delicious strawberries and lead to a lingering soft finish. Kendall-Jackson Merlot, therefore, embodies all those structural characteristics required for a medium-to-full-bodied premium Californian red. And it leaves none dissatisfied.

Appearance

Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Merlot is great-looking wine with a deep ruby to blackish-red color and hints of bright garnet near the rim. From the very first moment that it is poured into the glass, its boldness and Californian temperament emerge. A few swirls will also reveal an attractive shine that brings to mind ripe strawberries freshly cut from the bush on a fine summer morning. It is delightful.

Aroma

The wine has an intense and satisfying aromatic profile. Mature red cherries, strawberries, and red plum erupt like a volcano, while notes of earth, sweaty leather, and vanilla spice lead sensations to new heights. But what any wine lover will notice is the constant presence of smoke. And not just any kind of smoke. But the sweet smell of campfire. Consequently, Kendall Jackson shows complex aromas indeed, fully revealing its vintage Merlot character.

Taste

Kendall-Jackson Reserve Merlot has an exceptionally diverse and complicated palette. It is the perfect balance of fruitiness and complexity, and masterful Californian winemaking. Above all, the wine is passionate. It starts with ripe black cherries, blackberries, and dried blueberries. Then underlying layers of dark chocolate and nuts present the warmth of California. Furthermore, silky, fine-grained tannins coexist in perfect harmony and add remarkably to the wine structure.

Finish

With a smooth, velvety, and long lingering finish, Kendall-Jackson Merlot maintains its complexity right to the end. The smoke flavor is ever-present, as well as the feeling of munching on blackberries and strawberries covered in melted dark chocolate. It is a dusty finish that leaves nothing to desire.

Rating

Kendall-Jackson Merlot is a stunning example of a Californian vintage red. It is a powerful and distinctive wine, yet it is also approachable and savory. It has enough freshness and sophistication to guarantee the total satisfaction of wine enthusiasts. Kendall-Jackson Merlot keeps one-hundred-percent true to its fruity Merlot personality but also manages to show such complexity as only the most premium wines of its kind do.

The wine’s Californian character is distinguishable too as concentrated earth tones, indicative of the climate and mountain soil of Sonoma County, steadily emerge. Furthermore, its nose is intensely aromatic, full of notes of ripe red fruits and Mexican ground coffee, while its palette is a tango between dark Belgian chocolate and campfire smoke. So go ahead and dance along as Kendall-Jackson Merlot does not disappoint at any point but offers the ultimate drinking experience.

Kendall-Jackson Merlot Food Pairing

As a Californian Merlot that has undergone substantial aging, Kendall-Jackson best matches with grilled meats. A well-seasoned Tomahawk Steak or juicy Grilled Lamb Racks, cooked on the barbeque are prime food choices. The wine’s intense smoke and wood flavors soften the tannins and bring out the meat’s tenderness and juiciness. Kendall-Jackson Merlot also pairs wonderfully with Beef Stroganoff, as its earthiness matches remarkably with the mushroom ingredients of the Stroganoff. For lighter occasions, stick to Beef Hamburgers or even Pizza, as pair well with the wine’s intense fruitiness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Makes Kendall-Jackson Merlot?

Kendall-Jackson Merlot is the product of Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates, one of California’s largest wine producers. Founded in 1982 by Jess Jackson, Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates has vineyards covering 4250 hectares (10,500 acres) of land throughout Sonoma and Napa counties. It also has an extensive portfolio of wines, covering various wine styles and price ranges. Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay seem to be the significant grape varieties of the winery. There are also wines made from Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Zinfandel, among others.

Kendall-Jackson Merlot is one of those lucky wines under the care of two passionate wine experts: Winemaker Susan Lueker and Wine master for Randy Ullom. The latter is always involved in the winemaking process of every wine, including Kendall-Jackson Merlot. Rest assured then that this fantastic vintage has been created with lots of love and care.

How Is Kendall-Jackson Merlot Made?

As a dry red wine, Kendall-Jackson is produced by following the usual winemaking process. The grapes are picked from the vines when they are ripe and are sorted, destemmed, and taken to the winery, where they get crushed to release their juice. After, the grapes are placed inside large stainless steel vessels until the alcoholic fermentation begins.

The temperature steadily increases to ensure the extraction of colors, flavor, and tannins from the fermented grapes. Specialized winemaking techniques usually take place at this point to shape the wine’s character. Afterward, Kendall-Jackson Merlot is transferred into French and American oak barrels for a maturation period of 21 months. As the wine has aged enough, it is removed from the barrels, filtered from sediments, and finally bottled.

Where Is Kendall-Jackson Merlot Made?

The Merlot grapes used in the production of Kendall-Jackson are from vineyards in Sonoma County in California. Sonoma benefits from California’s warm climate, and it is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and Napa Valley. Consequently, it has a versatile landscape, which is strongly influenced by maritime variations. It enjoys cool nights and days that rarely get hot due to the fog that comes from the ocean into the interior valley through the Russian River and Petaluma Wine Gap.

Sonoma’s interesting geological feature is the Maya camas Mountain Range, which runs along the border between Lake, Napa, and Sonoma counties. This range shields the county’s warmer viticultural appellations such as Alexander Valley and Knights Valley. Furthermore, California is considered the center of the American winemaking industry due to its intensely fruit-forward wines and innovative wineries.

How to Serve Kendall-Jackson Merlot?

To wholeheartedly enjoy Kendall-Jackson Merlot, you must decant it and serve it at room temperature (50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 to 30 Celsius). By doing so, the wine receives well-needed aeration, and its explosive black fruit flavors will slowly emerge from the depths. Therefore, grab the bottle, uncork it and pour the liquid into your best crystal decanter. Then allow the wine to sit alone, uninterrupted, for about twenty minutes.

That time is enough to enable the oxygen to come into contact with the wine surface and help it reveal its red cherry aromatic profile and savory palate. Afterward, Kendal-Jackson Merlot has to be poured into standard larger-sized, or Bordeaux, wine glasses to keep contact with the air. And for additional fun, you could even try placing the wine inside a balloon-shaped glass for some guaranteed awe. As long as Kendall-Jackson Merlot is inside the wine glass, it will keep unveiling its character and showcase its smoky and complex personality.

How Much Does Kendall-Jackson Merlot Cost?

Even though the wine is a vintage Merlot, it is affordable, considering its premium quality. Kendall-Jackson Merlot price ranges from $15 to $25 per 750ml bottle. And it makes a perfect gift choice. Just present it inside a small wooden casket together with a box of milk chocolates. Friends will love it!

How Long Does Kendall-Jackson Merlot Last?

As Kendall-Jackson is a pure Californian vintage Merlot that has undergone a considerable maturation of 21 months in French and American barrels, it would most definitely benefit from further bottle aging. The reason is that the wine encompasses all the crucial structural components to withstand aging.

The wine should be sealed with a cork and stored away in an environment with room temperatures (50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 to 15 Celsius) that do not fluctuate and humidity. Direct sunlight or artificial light better be avoided as they may damage the wine and make it faulty. Odors also have to be kept at bay, as they might find their way inside the bottle, instill unpleasant aromas and flavors. My recommendation would be to store Kendall-Jackson Merlot for less than two years as its quality and freshness will decrease.

How Many Calories Does Kendall-Jackson Merlot Have?

Kendall-Jackson Merlot is a suitable dietary choice. Kendall-Jackson Merlot calories count up to 125 calories per serving or 25 calories in 1 fluid ounce. The total calorie breakdown is: 0g Fats, 10g Sodium, 4g Total Carbohydrate, 0g Protein. Consequently, the wine is not going to send wine enthusiasts directly to the dietician. However, it is worth mentioning that Kendall-Jackson Merlot alcohol content ranges from 13,5% to 14,5%, depending on the vintage and year of bottling. The high alcohol concentration should not surprise, as the wine, after all, is a vintage Californian Merlot that has undergone maturation in oak barrels for almost two years.

Conclusion

Kendall-Jackson is a Californian vintage Merlot from Sonoma County, and it is incredible. It encapsulates the growing conditions of this unique wine region. The wine is smooth, medium-to-full-bodied, and generously fruity with dark cherry and plum sensations. Furthermore, it is silky, approachable, and deep in concentration, with complexity around its supple tannin profile and integrated oak. Its smokiness also is ever-present, and along with its inherent chocolate sensations, make the wine distinctive. Consequently, Kendall-Jackson Merlot is delicious and an absolute treat to wine enthusiasts on the lookout for a complicated but approachable vintage wine.

Scroll to Top