Chatham Hill Yadkin Valley North Carolina Merlot 2009

Recommendation: Not Recommended.

Winery/Producer: Produced and bottled by: Chatham Hill Winery; Morrisville, North Carolina.

Grape Variety: Grapes 100% Winnbrose Vineyard; Merlot blend: 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Geographic Region, Appellation: Yadkin Valley North Carolina.

Vintage: 2009

Price: $15.99

Purchased From: Total Wine; Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Paired With: Barbecue chicken with cole slaw.


    He said: We had previously tried two Chatham Hill wines (see our review of Chatham Hill California Pinot Grigio 2011 and Chatham Hill Pinot Grigio 2013) and were very disappointed with both of them. However, we hear good things about the Chatham Hill wines so when we found one of their reds at the local Total Wine store we took the opportunity to try it. We have found the most impartial and revealing test is to blind taste two comparable priced wines side-by-side, so for this tasting we selected a good inexpensive ($10.80) French Merlot (see our review of Domaine Amido Tavel Merlot 2013 to tasted side-by side with the Chatham Hill Merlot. Here’s the result…

    Opened 30-minutes before drinking. Clear, with a purple color that was slightly tinted with brown. The aroma was rather shocking and had a disgusting burnt linoleum smell. On the palate it had a slightly sour fruit taste that finished harsh, with a fairly short bitter ending. WOW what a difference between the Chatham Hill Merlot and the French Merlot. The difference was black and white…and we all immediately were positive about the French Merlot and VERY negative about the Chatham Hill. In a nutshell I would say it was unpleasant drinking and after finishing the French Merlot no one wanted a second pour of the Chatham Hill!!! But, even with this said we’ll be on the lookout for another Chatham Hill wine to taste in the hope they have a good one.

    She said: Medium purple/red color and a brownish rim, with mystical legs; sometimes present and other times not. I was suspicious of the Chatham Hill Merlot when it could not produce legs when first poured. My suspicions were confirmed when I took the first sniff and was confronted with a scent that resembled new linoleum flooring. The aroma eased up only slightly over time and I survived by holding my breath when drinking. It was so different from the dark berry aroma of the French Merlot. The experience on the palate was equally different. The French Merlot had body, soft tannins, strong dark berry flavor and a long tasty finish. The Chatham Hill Merlot had a decent flavor and nice tannins, but was harsh and had a mercifully short finish. I would never recommend the Chatham Hill Merlot at any price.

    Comments: Guest taster comments: We blind tasted two Merlots paired with a barbecued chicken and cole slaw dinner. There was a big difference immediately but surprises later. The French Merlot was dark colored and had a fruity aroma with a rich berry flavor and smooth finish. The Chatham Hill Merlot was a completely different experience. It had a brownish red color and an unpleasant aroma. The finish was astringent and somewhat bitter overshadowing the flavor until later in the meal. Although there was some improvement while it sat in the glass, it never had any of the pleasant Merlot tastes found in the French wine.

Alcohol: 12%

Bar code: 8 11461 02011

Imported by: NA