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Copyright © 2015
Forkmedia LLC

by Fred McMillin
for August 2000


How Much to Pay

For California Merlot?



Naturally the price of Merlot increases as the quality increases. with our WineDay Buyer's Cap, you decide what rating you want, it tells you about how much to pay to get it. Let's get it on.

The Rest of the Story

We examined all the California Merlots tasted in the last year, rated from 77 (ordinary quality) to 91 (excellent). It costs only a dollar to move up one rating point in the 70s, but more as we go higher. Here are the costs.

Rating Price of the Wine Cost to Go Up One Point
77 $ 9.00 $1.00
78 $10.00 $1.00
79 $11.00 $1.00
80 $12.00 $1.00 (80 is a bit above average)
81 $13.00 $1.00
82 $14.00 $1.00
83 $15.00 $1.50
84 $16.50 $1.50
85 $18.00 $2.00 (85 is a very respectable wine)
86 $20.00 $2.00
87 $22.00 $2.00
88 $24.00 $4.00
89 $28.00 $8.00
90 $36.00 $12 (90 indicates an outstanding wine)
91 $48.00 ---

Using the Buying Cap

My Everyday Merlot - with James Beard's flank steak tonight, we want a nice, but very affordable Merlot. It costs only a dollar a point up to 82, which typically costs $14. So, I'll ask my wine shop for their best $14 California Merlot.

Merlot When I Have Guests - The cost per point isn't bad up to 88, so I'll take home the best $22 to $24 California Merlot in the shop.

Gift for the Wine Lover - Need a 90 rating, so we're in the $35 to $40 range.



Here is a good representative of the various quality ratings.

Rating       The California Merlot
77       Robert Mondavi Woodbridge, California
81       Sterling, Central Coast
84       Chateau Souverain, Alexander Valley
86       Markham, Napa Valley
87       Clos Pegase, Napa Valley
88       St. Clement, Napa Valley
89       Firestone Reserve, Santa Ynez Valley
90       Peju Province, Napa Valley



Four of the five highest rated California Merlots are produced from Napa Valley grapes. We know that region is the best Cabernet Sauvignon district in the state, and it looks like Cab's Bordeaux cousin, Merlot, is right at home there, too.


This page created August 2000