I’ve written in the distant past about affordable California wine brands that you can depend on. In those days, Fetzer was always on the list. But the winery went through at least a decade when it wasn’t on my radar. Now Chile wine giant Concha y Toro, which has owned Fetzer since 2011, appears to be giving the brand a new push.
Frankly, it’s hard to find a $10 California wine these days that’s worth your attention, but Fetzer once again delivers. And that’s particularly true with the Eagle Peak merlot, which has a California appellation. The wine is medium weight and easy to drink, with lively, dark fruit, a hint of anise and approachable tannins.
The Eagle Peak merlot is also very consistent from vintage to vintage. Some stores are likely to have the 2015 (whose label is pictured), and it’s a good bet, too.
Fetzer, founded in 1968 by Barney Fetzer, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It’s a low-key celebration, but you will see a sticker noting the milestone on the front of Fetzer bottles. If you haven’t tried Fetzer wines lately, this is a fine occasion.