The cool kids at Gun Bun are like cheerleaders for good wine…

After being blown away by Gun Bun’s Chardonnay, I was thrilled to find their Merlot at my local Safeway as well. One of the things I love about this vintner is that none of their wines get more general than “estate.” And they take such pride in their Rhinefarm estate vineyard that it’s hard not to fall in love with a wine just by reading about it. Ok ok…let’s jump in and taste already, shall we?


About the Wine: Because of the location of Rhinefarm, GunBun has access to dual climate conditions, variations in terroir, and, thus, a mixed bag of fruit even when it comes to a single varietal. The winemakers here were smart when they planted the Merlot grapes pretty much everywhere — it’s a sturdy fruit that can thrive in both warm and cold conditions, yielding unique flavor characteristics depending on those conditions. And this definitely plays a part in the flavor profile. But you’ll get there in a sec.

Gundlach Bundshcu Sonoma Valley Merlot is made from 88% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec, and 4% Petite Verdot harvested in the Sonoma Valley AVA. The wine was aged for 17 months in 100% French oak barrels (40% new).

14.6% ABV

Flavor Profile: Gundlach Bundschu Merlot pours dark into the glass — like a burnt rouge. The smell is strong with deep purple fruits: think plums, blueberries, mission figs, and — even deeper — currants. The wine is thick, yet smooth on the palate, reminding you that wine is not just drink, but nourishment as well. It’s like taking a mouthful of that flavorful fruit salad sensed on the nose. But let the wine linger on the tongue and you’ll begin to get secondary flavors of baking spices: nutmeg, clove, and maybe even a hint of cocoa powder. This is no fruit salad — this is a mixed berry pie, complete with that fresh-baked flakey crust.

The finish is solid and certainly tannic, but it makes sense in the context of the wine — I couldn’t imagine this wine’s story ending any other way.

Food Pairing: Because the body of the wine is juicy and the finish tannic, I recommend pairing this wine with a juicy protein. I enjoyed Gundlach Bundschu Merlot with a rack of lamb, medium rare, served alongside a roasted beetroot salad topped with goat cheese, pine nuts, and cranberries. Perfect.

More Info: If you haven’t read my review of Gundlach Bundschu Chardonnay, please do so. For such a home-grown style wine, I’m pleasantly surprised that I can find them in my local supermarket. I found Gundlach Bundshcu Merlot at Safeway (Sale Price: $20). Of course, I’m excited to visit them live and taste some of their more…unique…offerings.

For more information about Gunlach Bundschu, please visit

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