Turning Leaf Merlot

        Turning Leaf, to me, has been a bit of an enigma in terms of brand identity. It has seemed to not fully embrace the ultra-discount, bottom shelf forever role, but has remained sort of middle-cheap. Most of the 750ml sized flavors are under 10 bucks-8ish usually, the 1.5 liters around $15. But recently, there seems to be a shift downward, especially with their Merlot. The big Merlot bottle, like the rest of the line, was $15 in February. Then, in March, they dropped to $9.99 everyday. They are currently sale priced at $5.99 !! Yes, for a 1.5 liter bottle. Now certainly the Gallo people, parent brand of Turning Leaf, know far more than me about the dynamics of wine pricing, market share, and brand identity. Perhaps this is an experiment, and the rest of the line’s pricing will follow this downward trajectory. Perhaps the California Merlot harvest was extra bountiful, and rail car loads of Merlot grapes are available for relative pennies. Perhaps this is Gallo showing some other label who’s boss, like Dave on Storage Wars. Don’t know, really. But needless to say, when the $5.99 price hit, I rented a U-Haul truck and filled the downstairs bathroom with Turning Leaf Merlot.

         And it’s pretty darn good. It has good body, tastes of plum, and has some oak note. I don’t think very highly of point systems for rating wine, but if I did, this one would get a few extra points-sort of like a handicap in golf-for costing only 6 bucks. Funny how a genuine bargain price can affect one’s palate.



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