Wine Review: Kendall Jackson Meritage 2003

Kendall Jackson Meritage

You’re Recommending a Non-Chardonnay Kendall-Jackson?

Indeed we are. Kendall Jackson Chardonnay is how a lot of people first started drinking that was higher quality than the jug wines or White Zinfandels they were used to. Kendall Jackson still makes a killing with their Chardonnay in every vintage, and is one of the best-selling Chardonnays in history. They practically mailed samples of the stuff to suburban homes back in the nineties as a requirement to drink. So because of this, we feel like we don’t really have to say anything. To us, it would be like recommending gasoline for your car.

Therefore, without further or do, we bring you the Kendall Jackson Meritage 2003. This is a plush blended wine (“Meritage” means “Blend”) in the Bordeaux style. Remember, a Bordeaux wine can only consist of the following five grape varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Frank, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The Kendall Jackson Meritage contains three out of the five: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

Bad News First

The wine tastes fake. That’s as bluntly as we can put it. Kendall Jackson has been around for so long and has to bottle such large amounts of their wine to get them into thousands of grocery stores, that some of their wines taste “rushed.”

There were flavors in this juice at some point in time, but we’re guessing that they ran out of time and so had to fake a few tastes to make the wine more tasty, palatable and pleasing to the public. One such method would be to over-oak the wine, as this certainly is. If you are not into the super-California-style wines or vanilla oak elements in red wine, stay away.

Basically, there are better, hearty red wines available for less money. the Hahn Syrah for one.

Good News

Color: Rich, red garnet. The color is pleasing and makes you want to get to drinking.

Nose: Very dark cherries and oaken vanilla. The oak really does bash you right in the face here. You might also pick up hints of earth; wet earth. Rainy mornings on a redwood deck.

Taste: We have the oak again, and man oh man is it in the front. It dominates every other flavor, turning this wine into a bowl of vanilla ice cream topped off with some cedar chips and some vanilla extract. Did we mention vanilla? The deep, dark cherries complete themselves from nose to taste here, it’s virtually the only fruit you will get, depending on what you might be eating. Weak tannins, so there is the slightest hint of dryness, but given the varietals blended here, there should be much much more. So if you are into New World styles, and especially California New World, you might want to give this a whirl.

With Food

Strong cheeses or fruit, perhaps red berries or cherries. Normally, blends such as these work well with red meats or even red sauces, but given the weak structure and tannins, it just won’t hold up. Take it easy with this one.

Only $12 at! (Yes, we know it is slightly cheaper on other sites, but this one looked like they could actually ship it to you rather than tying it to a pigeon and hoping for the best. We’re always looking out for you.)

Remember to subscribe for all of the latest recommendations from Wine Welfare!

What Do You Think?