Wine Review: Bocage Merlot 2005

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It’s French for “Badly Drawn Label”

A MUST BUY. Though the label may look like it was drawn by a 14-year-old girl, this wine kicked serious ass (and it’s $13!). We stumbled upon the Bocage Merlot while traveling through Salinas and the Monterey area, home of John Steinbeck. We realize that you readers probably have absolutely zero interest in John Steinbeck, or the museum we visited in Monterey that bears his name, so let’s just pretend we didn’t mention it at all.

COLOR: Inky purple with a blue tint to it when you tilt against a frosted lamp with a 60 watt bulb. I’m serious, you need to follow those instructions exactly.

NOSE: Crack open a can of black olives and throw some dried blueberries and chocolate on them. Shake it up and take a whiff. If you don’t throw up, that’s what the nose is like.

TASTE: Absolutely scrumptious. We don’t use that word too often, but this wine is very complex and very satisfying. We didn’t finish that first day and came back to it 2 days later, and it had taken on even more flavor. Silky and balanced, this wine brings seriously ripe fruit that conjures leather, blueberry, big black olives (which I hate, though they were good here), with a great shot of dark chocolate in the mid-palate. The finish is bland at first, but give it a moment and you will be rewarded with an aftertaste similar to finishing a pizza with only black olives. Something about the finish made me think of browned mozzarella, pizza dough, tomato sauce and black olives. Who knows why I think of these things? Stop staring at me!

WITH FOOD: Great pizza wine, let me first say that, but we had it with mushroom ravioli and spaghetti bolognese. I see no reason to suggest anything other than those items.

WHERE TO BUY: $10.99 at or $12.95 direct from San Saba Vineyards OR $13 from A Taste of Monterey!

SPECIAL NOTE: Thanks to the dude at A Taste of Monterey who suggested we shouldn’t pass it up at $13. Despite it not even being on their tasting menu, something told me that it would be good, that something being that dude.

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4 Responses to “Wine Review: Bocage Merlot 2005”

  1. Rudolf Schroeter Says:
    November 6, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Bocage 2006 is EVERYTHING you say about it !
    I will tell the “Dude” at Taste of Monterey; he is my friend.
    I thank you !

  2. Wine Welfare Says:
    November 7, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Thanks for commenting, Rudolf! I forget the dude’s name there at Taste of Monterey, but make sure you tell him the Wine Welfare dude says hello, and that I hope to be in his neck of the woods soon.

    Hope you keep reading, and let me know what the dude says!



  3. David Chastain Says:
    December 10, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I love your wine and I want to buy a case

  4. Wine Welfare Says:
    December 10, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Thanks for the comment, David! As far as I know, the easiest way to find a case of this wine is to contact A Taste of Monterey, where I first had the wine. Site is at

    Hope this helps! Let me know how it works out!


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