Corbett Canyon Merlot 2005

Corbett Canyon BoxPrice: $9
Maker: Corbett Canyon Vineyards
Varietal: Merlot
Packaging: 3 liter box, twist spigot
Alcohol: 12.5%
Our Rating: 7 out of 10

We’ve avoided Corbett Canyon products for a while, but after some good reports on their Chardonnay in the WBW we hosted, we broke down and picked up a box of Corbett Canyon Merlot 2005. There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that Corbett Canyon Merlot may be slightly better than the other low end boxed Merlots usually sold in 5-liter containers. The bad news is that it doesn’t compare to any of the other 3 liter Merlots one will find in a well-stocked wine store. The nose was interesting, with a leathery tobacco emphasis and an unusual butterscotch note. The flavor, unfortunately, didn’t quite measure up. It was plummy and slightly sweet for a Merlot, with a metallic character. It’s not a complex wine, and seems likely to appeal mainly to those who might be trying to transition from wine coolers to “real” wines. The twist spigot exhibits the slight dribble tendency we’ve come to expect from that closure; it doesn’t leak, but a few seconds after pouring a glass it’s prone to releasing one more drop.

All in all, Corbett Canyon Merlot 2005 is closer in character to some of the ultra-cheap 5 liter boxes than more upscale 3 liter boxes. Skip this one unless budget is paramount. We’d consider it a 3-liter pretender – we often suggest to box wine newbies that they avoid the 5 liter boxes entirely and try a 3-liter. This Merlot is likely to put them off wine boxes completely.

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