Chateau Julien 2014 Merlot

Monterey County, CA; 13.5% ABV
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 15 June

ChateauJulien_2014_MerlotA customer said that this wine was likely being cleared out because the Chateau Julien winery had been sold and the old stuff was being cleared out.  (This is apparently true.)  So I thought this might be a good deal, and indeed, I think it’s quite good for the price.  The only drawback is that the wine is a bit young still.

With my first bottle, I thought it was okay after a couple hours’ air, but just showing light red cherry fruit with hints of more buried underneath.  The second half was better, but still not showing that much.

So I got a second bottle.  On the first night, I just opened it, poured out a little, and stopped the cork back in.  The next day, after a little more air, the wine was quite tasty: red cherry / raspberry, slight amount of cheap oak but not too bad, some blackcurrant / blackberry, slight savory quality (wood, caramel / prune, bacon?), tart red raspberry acid.  It’s not the most powerful wine, but nicely flavored and elegant for $5.  It should easily hold on, and almost certainly improve, for a few more years.  Highly drinkable.


6 thoughts on “Chateau Julien 2014 Merlot

  1. Darrell

    BW, did the wine have some merlot character? My first experience with Ch. Julien was many years ago when I bought their 1983 CS since it was from Monterey County. I liked it enough to buy their magnums. Most wouldn’t buy this type of cab due to the cool, green CS character, but I knew this character would hold, but diminish with substantial age. Brought both bottle and magnum size out 4 years ago for comparison at an event and they were similar and the not so popular varietal character was there that I bought it for. The 1983 wasn’t tired. Fast forward to my shopping at GO and there is this nice looking case of Ch. Julien CS and quite reasonable and bought it since it was reasonable in price. It wasn’t varietal at all and was just wood and oak. After investigation from the winery site, the best I could determine was that these grapes came from the San Antonio Valley, a fairly hot area in Monterey County. Not sure why growers grow CS there except it’s CS and more salable. The Monterey AVA ranges from Heat Summation Regions I through IV so one doesn’t know the conditions grapes are grown unless the AVA is more delimited. One mustn’t think cool necessarily when Monterey is mentioned.

  2. weinish

    Couple years ago my wife and I were passing CJ sometime around Christmas, so we ducked in. They were holding their annual members Holiday Party. We were under-dressed, but figured we’d try and stick it out. A couple came over to us having recognized we didn’t belong, but they told us to let the staff know “we are guests of the _______.” Super cool.

    The wine was free, so it tasted better, but it certainly wasn’t anything to discuss beyond this post.

    Not surprised it’s in transition. Hopefully it works out because it’s great location.

    1. seedboy

      The facility is really nice. They’ve re-routed guests entering so that they enter through a large courtyard. They have a big connect four game and some other stuff for kids to play, and tables for tasting I’ve noticed that more and more wineries are moving away from the “tasting bar” that you stand at and toward seated tastings.

  3. seedboy

    I visited the former Ch. Julien this last weekend. It is now called Folktale. The hospitality manager is a dear friend. He reports they have disposed of all of the Ch. J. stock. I’ve been avoiding these wines but it sounds like I should give the Merlot a try.

      1. seedboy

        Yep, I’ve been avoiding it like a plague. I had Vietnamese food Friday night and we washed it down with two GO pinots, the 2000 Rutz Sonoma Coast and the 2012 Cottonwood (Latter still available in some stores). Both were good wines and paired well with the food.


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