Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Marilyn Merlot 2019

Nova Wines Napa Valley Marilyn Merlot 2019 label release appears in local merchant (s)

One of the fun parts of studying wine and associated branding and marketing is tracking the series of artist labels or other approaches to developing and promoting a unique identity for a producer or a label. Perhaps the most iconic is Chateau Mouton Rothschild and their annual release of the grand vin featuring an original work of art designed label by a notable contemporary artist. I chronicle the history of these labels in a page dedicated to the subject. There I include a library of the historic storied labels. For many of the artists, I also include photos of similar or other works of art.

Another series of labels that my be one of the more unique branding approaches is a whimsical play on words named for the famous legendary movie starlet Marilyn Monroe inspired Marilyn Merlot. I chronicle this series in a page dedicated to the subject with a library of the history of labels. 

So it is, that each year when these labels arrive on the scene I obtain one for my vertical collection, or in the case of the Mouton, which often costs hundreds of dollars, approaching a thousand dollars per bottle, I will at capture an original image of each year's vintage release label. 

My Winesite Label Library lists the Mouton Rothschild Label Library Series Artists and associated works by the artists for reference or to aid in further exploration or research of the library and its history.

As with Mouton Rothschild, I've assembled a portfolio of Marilyn labels in my label library on my winesite. I wrote in detail about Marilyn Merlot and Norma Jean Wines - A Study in Branding in a blogpost back in 2014.

This weekend, when I in Binny's Beverage Depot, the Chicagoland wine superstore, they had the latest current vintage release of the 2019 Marilyn Merlot. Alas, while the price has held steady for this label for several years, this year's vintage release price has suddenly increased significantly reflecting the collectable popularity of this label. 

 I admit I have been collecting this label for close to two decades and have a vertical collection dating back to the 2000 vintage. I have written in these pages about the exorbinant prices that have put on these labels for older vintages. I don't believe they warrant those prices or have actually garnered such. 

In any event, these labels are fun and I enjoy procuring them each year for gifting to folks when appropriate, and invariably 'hold' a bottle for to continue my vertical collection. 

Hence there is the latest Marilyn Merlot bottle/label for the current release, 2019, noted as the 35th Anniversary edition of this label. Ironically, it was one year ago today, that I last wrote about this label, the then current 2018 release. I wrote in detail about the brand and its history at that time. I also chronicled the other labels in the Marilyn brand portfolio.

Winemaker Notes from Bob Pepi:

"This wine immediately impresses upon pouring in the glass with its deep garnet color. There is a beautiful intensity and complexity of aromas that suggest a wonderful integration of a judicious amount of new oak that provides some nice spicy undertones to the rich dark fruit; with notes of mature plums, berries and cassis. Flavors follow with big bold structure and solid weight on the palate that is balanced and that linger nicely on the palate and the rich finish.'

"We were fortunate to have sourced the Merlot in this wine from 3 wonderful sub-appellations in Napa Valley, Carneros, Rutherford and Howell Mountain. To these Merlots we added a small percentage of Malbec, which is the Bordeaux grape variety that does so well in Argentina and the few plantings in Napa match that quality. I think the Malbec in this wine adds to the deep color and the silky weight on the palate."