Wine Tasting: Red Rock Winery 2008 Reserve Merlot

Tasty wine!

Any wine with a cairn for a logo is a must-buy!

I first saw this wine on the shelves a few weeks ago, snapped a photo on my Blackberry and sent it to a few hiking friends.  How could a wine with a cairn for a logo and a name shared by my favorite local hiking spot not catch my eye!  Look, I’m not an expert but I do know I like what I like.  And this wine has found a place on the list of wines I like.  The price lands at about $12 making it a possibility for any occasion.

I’d recommend it.

Disclaimer: Wine tastings and reviews aren’t a regular part of the Trail Sherpa experience and I doubt that they will become a regular part of our content offering here.  But there are a few reasons why I decided to try this wine and spend a few minutes writing up this post.

My motivations for this review

  1. Thanks to the 2004 indy flick Sideways starring Paul Giamatti it’s become cool to bash on Merlot.  But the year before the movie released I married my wife at the Gainey Winery in Solvang where the yet to be released movie was filmed.  I’m indifferent about Merlot in general but sure do love the wine region north of Santa Barbara.  Did I mention that this winery is in Modesto and no where near Solvang!
  2. The logo for the Red Rock Winery is a cairn that is highlighted by one red rock.  Appropriate name I guess.
  3. Red Rock is the national recreation area to the west of Las Vegas and stands as one of my favorite hiking areas.  That’s where Bridge Mountain, one of my favorite hikes, can be found.  How could I not try a wine of the same name?
  4. Lastly, though the story behind the name of the winery is not apparent to me at this time, I would guess that it is a story that in some way reflects the founder’s passions for the outdoors.

So how did it taste?

It was really tasty!  Tasted more like a Cabernet than a Merlot if you believe my wife.  The winery website says that the 2008 Reserve Merlot “opens with aromas of blackberry, raspberry and ripe cherry” and we both agreed.  Their website also suggests that this wine be paired with an assortment of dishes from goat cheese to pasta in red sauce.  We pushed the limits, enjoying our bottle with a gourmet mushroom pizza of my creation, followed by a salad with an assortment of garden fresh fix’ins and a small mound of chocolates.  The 2009 Reserve Merlot paired well with all courses.

Get your hands on some Red Rock wines

You can use the search tool on the Red Rock Winery website to find a retailer near you or visit your local Whole Foods.  Red Rock wines are also offered on the Barrel Room website.

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I'm the founder of Vestor Logic, the digital strategy and web design firm that created Trail Sherpa, ParksFolio, and Modern Steader. I'm a day hiker, top chef in camp, doting husband, and father to two headlamp wearing boys. My work in digital media brings those experiences to life.

  • I was iffy about getting into an article about wine, but then I read the $12 price tag! That’s my kinda booze! Cheap, outdoorsy (the label at least), and did I mention cheap? I’ll have to keep an eye out for a bottle, thanks for sharing!

    • Clearly, my wine review skills are a bit limited.  Really more of a stream of consciousness that sounded great in my head last night as I pecked away at the keyboard with three fingers and a thumb.

      But, man, that price is spot on!