Laurier 2011 Merlot, Alexander Valley, CA $7.99

Produced & Bottled by Laurier Vineyards
12.5% ABV
Purchased: Albany OR 10-25-2014

FullSizeRenderAfter all the talk of Merlot the other day, when I was at G.O. today I picked this one up. It is from Alexander Valley, one of our favorite AVA’s and a multiple award winner. I was hopeful as it seemed to have loads of potential.

When we got home, I did a bit of research and found that this label is another of the Bronco wines.

Color is beautiful. No visible bricking. Elegant, blackberry fruit nose.

We were going to have it with dinner but upon opening, the wine was so closed. I tried aerating but that didn’t help. I could taste black pepper, grass and green pepper; no discernible fruit in the initial tasting. There was also an odd chemical aftertaste. So I left it on the counter, in the glasses, to see if it would open up later. I admit to being surprised that a 2011 was still so incredibly closed.

Later this evening I tasted the wine again. It had opened up a bit. I could taste blackberry, raspberry, plum, green pepper (I wasn’t so happy about the prevalence of that) and black pepper. There is a sour candy aftertaste that replaced the chemical aftertaste from earlier. Body is medium and I didn’t find it to have the lengthy finish that they mentioned in the website.

We finally ended up opening something else to enjoy for the evening and won’t be finishing this one. Given the fact that we have many different wines from this AVA, we couldn’t have been more surprised.

While this wine is not to my taste at all and hits several of my least favorite wine tasting options, I don’t know that everyone would feel this way. I am super sensitive to so many odd chemical tastes. With that in mind, I’m not giving it a thumbs down, more like a drinkable borderline thumbs down depending on personal taste; but I am hoping everyone will read the description before buying to know where it falls for them.

Perhaps it would open up further on day 2 or 3…it seems like a slow opener.


10 thoughts on “Laurier 2011 Merlot, Alexander Valley, CA $7.99

  1. Expat

    I resisted this wine after P-Dub’s review and subsequent comments. After I read the fairly positive review on that other blog recently mentioned I took a flyer on it when I was at the San Luis Obispo Gross Out. The little voice in my head kept whispering, “‘It’s a Bronco wine” and “Trust PW and BW” and “that hipster with the Blog missed on other wine reviews”. Still, I got it and had it tonight with oak grilled pork chops, cardone and cheddar grits. Sure enough, this blog got it right.Out of the gate it slapped me in the mouth with a lot of tart cranberry acidity. I got a faint odd aftertaste but that was subtle to me. There were some interesting elements and I got the fruit notes mentioned by PW and BW but overall it was really tight and not that interesting. After a glass and a half I vacu-vinned it and will try it tomorrow and the next day for academic purposes. The moral of the story – trust the reviews on this site and never expect much from a Bronco wine.

    1. BargainWhine

      Hi Expat. Sorry to hear about that. However, I will be interested to hear about your impressions of the second and possibly third days. I thought it improved a lot.

    2. permiesworld Post author

      Every time you use the P-Dub it makes me laugh. I already told my (cartoonist) husband that if he ever does a story line with a rapper, I want that to be my character’s name. lol

      Sorry you didn’t enjoy it. Both you and BW have more patience than I do with wines like this. I hope it improves for you after air. I could never get past the aftertaste.

  2. BargainWhine

    PW and I got a bottle of this about the same time, but she opened it first, which was fine with me. I put off opening mine until after the sale, but finally did so recently, and, well, I agree. On the first night, the color was beautiful, but it didn’t open much and there didn’t seem to be much to this wine. The next day, the rest of the wine, left in the original bottle stoppered with the cork, was much more open: an elegant but not very complex or intense palate of dark cherry, medium plum and cranberry, with that odd taste in the finish. Could be an okay deal at $5, maybe $6, but not at $8. I still have a saved 375ml bottle of this wine, stoppered with very little air. If it turns up anything different, I’ll comment again, but I doubt it will.

    1. permiesworld Post author

      Thanks for posting your thoughts BW. I was expecting so much more from this one. You are more patient than I…stoppering it to see if it would get better…that original taste was not something I wanted to explore further. So, I truly appreciate the fact that you were willing to take it to day two (and even day 3) to see if it has potential.

      1. BargainWhine

        No, I think I was much like you: I tasted it and wanted to drink something else. 🙂 The next day it was still sitting there, so I gave it another go. It was much better the next day, but still not something that interested me very much.

  3. JoelA

    Domaine Laurier was a pretty good Sonoma winery that was bought a number of years ago by Bronco, which now uses the name only for some its wines that in no way resemble the quality of the former owner’s. Happened to a number of wineries in California.

    1. permiesworld Post author

      Interesting & unfortunate, Joel. Thanks for that info. In all honesty, I would never have guessed this AVA or even a CA Merlot in a blind test. It reminded a lot of Chilean Cabernet blend that we also disliked, earlier this year.

      We’d had the Napa Ridge Pinot Noir (another Bronco wine from G.O. and my only experience with them so far) and it wasn’t bad, so my expectations weren’t terribly low (or high). AFAIK Bronco doesn’t seem to have any of what I’d call “top shelf” labels, but having tried that one, I didn’t expect this one to taste as it did. I would say that it’s retail should be $5.99, not sale price.


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