Beringer is a California winery located in the Napa Valley and has been around since 1876. This winery has been producing great wines over the years, and they have wide range of wines in their inventory that will fit just about every type of consumer, from beginning wine drinkers to the high end wine enthusiasts. Tom Stevenson, author of Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia, gave them a nice write up in the encyclopedia and especially liked their Merlot, in particular the Founders’ Estate Merlot. He considered the 2000 vintage to be quite good, and said that if all vintages were to be just as good, this wine could be considered to be one of the best California Merlots. I have found Mr. Stevenson to be a great source when looking for the right wines, so I thought I would take his advice and give this one a try. I was very impressed with this merlot, and definitely is one of the best California Merlots that I have recently tasted. I tried out the 2009 version, and the wine had a nice medium purple color to it, with hints of vanilla and blackberry on the nose. The first sip has nice smooth tannins, with spicy ripe blackberry and vanilla, and a silky smooth finish. I found that the wine had a nice touch of oak that wasn’t overpowering, and the alcohol at 13.9% was just right. This wine is typically under $10 retail, which is a pretty good deal. Compared to the BV Merlot I tried recently, this wine seemed a little more full bodied and flavorful, and had a nice lingering finish to it. So if you are in the mood for a good California Merlot, don’t hesitate to give Beringer Founders’ Estate a try.