I like this winery’s style. Merryvale gets the right balance of extraction and finesse. I tried to visit their tasting room last month in Napa but it was not my scene. Dark and crowded with drunks falling off the bar stools, it reminded me of the old west or Georgetown on a Friday night during my college days. I didn’t let that detract from my impressions and enjoyment of their wine though. This Merlot is very dark and brooding in the glass with a nose of black currants, oregano and dried herbs. A crisp linear initial attack of currant, stewed plum and dark berry compote. Immense tannic thrust on the gums is delightful and balanced by mouth watering acidity. Wowsa. This wine has a long finish and good cellaring potential. I enjoyed it with Cajun rubbed ribeyes, a perfect combination. 2015/2022 would be a good estimate. 92 points make this $45 wine worthy of 4 stars. Salut….
Back in January I discovered two bottles of this Napa Merlot blend. I opened the first and was horrified by the state of the cork. I wrote about the wine and promised a re-taste. Yesterday was our first real day of Spring weather, so I got the patio sorted out, cleaned the Weber and decided to open the Merryvale to go along with marinated Flank steak. It was a glorious evening and a great precursor to the Game of Thrones season opener, bliss.
I was right, this is a damn good wine. Forget what you saw in the movies, Merlot is a great wine and so is Chardonnay. Merlot is highly adaptable, smooth, makes a good blend and has the stuffing to cellar for years. It offers a softer side to Cabernet Sauvignon but has the grace to make it’s own name (Think Chateau Petrus plus the majority of St. Emilions and Right Bank of Bordeaux.) It is blended in the this bottling with a touch of two other noble grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
I immediately got plums and currants on the nose which is way better than the last bottle. A full bodied attack of black berries and plums was simply delicious. This wine is rich and gorgeous with great tannins rounding out the damson and earth finish. Good acidity give this wine the balance I was hoping for along with the great mouthfeel. I’m bumping it up to 91 points and for $46 it is a 4 star effort. Salut….
Several points about this wine. Firstly, I don’t remember buying it, or the second bottle I found in my ‘to drink’ rack. Perhaps one of my mates brought them over for Thanksgiving when I was not here yet Moxie has no recollection of this occurring. Oh well, free booze is free booze.
Secondly, the cork on bottle #1 was badly stained, never a good sign. I sliced the second one open to see, it is safe. So…. I will write based on the fact that I suspect this wine to be flawed, which is a shame considering it’s heritage, reputation and price.
As you can see, pretty grim on the left side. I shall endeavor to open the other one soon so I have a fresh recollection. Anyway, back to the details. Mostly Merlot with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc make this more of a Right Bank blend which excites me. The wine is inky dark in the glass and unfortunately had a slightly oxidized nose of plums and blackberry. On the palate I was in for a surprise. The wine had survived nearly intact. Big juicy black berries and dark plums with a deft addition of the wood and some spices make this a full-on wine of great depth. The tannic structure is great with some dryness on the back end, right where it should be. I did not sense any imbalance but did notice a slight oxidized note on the finish. I am lucky this bottle showed so well, now if only I could find it’s source! I am giving a provisional 90 points and found it online for about $46. Potentially a 4 star wine for me, we shall have to wait for the re-taste to confirm. Salut….
Boom, after last night’s epic Pinot fail I was determined to find something worthy of my time, and the Cornish Game Hens I roasted tonight. This was it. I really enjoyed myself and had to remember how I got this wine. You see, several months ago I opened a Merryvale Merlot that was corked. The folks at the winery got in touch with me after reading about the botched bottle and offered to replace it. Talk about customer service and a class act. So, in finalizing the replacement I was so taken by the representative’s willingness to make sure I was happy I ordered some of their other wines. So far so good I must say. Here we go..
Classic new world nose of bing and white cherries interspersed with some violets. In the glass, a very crimson purple that is see-through- typical of Pinot. On the initial attack there is strawberry, cranberry, cherry and a subtle mouthfeel that is balanced to within an inch of it’s life. Razor sharp focus with a hint of acidity offset by some lurking tannins make this a well made Pinot. I timed a 30 second finish that kept morphing, amazing. I served it up with Cornish Game Hens and steamed veggies that made this wine excel. 92 points from me for this $35 effort make it a solid 4 star wine, but I’m going to give it 5 because I’m in a generous mood. Perfect with poultry and perhaps a cream sauce based dish. Lovely and smooth. Salut….