Markham Vineyards is a workhorse of the wine world, seemingly ubiquitous across bottle shops and wine lists alike. Today we look at three wines from its Napa Valley collection, all approachable and — more importantly — affordable options for just about any occasion.
2021 Markham Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley – Designed very much with New Zealand styling in mind, this fruity sauvignon blanc immediately drops notes of pineapple followed by coconut cream. There’s a modest acidity here in the form of a spritz of lemon peel, but that slightly doughy tropical character is what dominates for the long haul. Fine for an aperitif as long as you’re not after nuance. B / $17
2020 Markham Merlot Napa Valley – Chocolatey, with a licorice candy note, the wine is soft and plump with a juicy core of red plums. Slightly edgy as it develops, the graphite edge eventually finds itself tempered by a more tart, black cherry character, evoking cab-like currants at times. Very versatile and approachable, this is a merlot for those who’ve seen Sideways once too often. B+ / $29
2018 Markham The Altruist Napa Valley – 61% merlot, 24% cabernet sauvignon, 7% cabernet franc, 5% malbec, and 3% petit verdot. This is a silkier, sexier version of the Merlot, balanced out by some richer, darker chocolate and currant notes driven by the cabernet sauvignon in the blend. Lightly minty, the wine evolves in glass to show a floral side, complementing elements of blackberry bramble, vanilla, and a lighter citrus/tropical note peeking in on the finish. Decidedly solid value here and one of Markham’s most versatile bottlings. A- / $29