Posts Tagged ‘Merlot


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day sixty-eight (Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Merlot 2007)

I’m in the Red Roof Inn in Rutland, VT. A very relaxing hotel where I can come to feel at full ease. I’m here with my girlfriend and dog. For dinner I had sushi and some Red Diamond Merlot. Along the way I discover an amazing jazz pianist Mike Taylor. (Here’s a good story about Mike Taylor: If you can find The Mike Taylor Trio Trio, oh, do get it so wonderful. Mmmm.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Merlot 2007So I’ve only heard wonderful things about Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Merlot 2007. Well, maybe not about the specific year, but the wine. And here I found it at Hannaford Farms, a grocery store chain in the northeast. It definitely rivals Wegmans. I think I like Hannaford Farms better. (I’m going to upstate-New York hell for that.)

Anyway, I’m now downloading Mike Taylor Remembered from Amazon. I love Amazon album downloads. This album is only $7. Wheeee.

(Seems these are more cover tunes than Mike Taylor. Oh well.)

To the wine!

To the wine out of a plastic hotel cup.

The color is dark. Well, what else can I say when using a plastic hotel cup. Despite the cup, I get a jammy nose. Raspberry jam. My girlfriend gets grape cough syrup. I can find that too in a corner of the wine.

On the taste it’s grapes and raspberries. Tart raspberries. It’s pretty big for a Merlot, too.

It seems awkward to me. Not balanced, yet. It has a Zinfandel jamminess and Cabernet Sauvignon body and texture. It doesn’t seem Merlovian to me. (I made up the adjectival “Merlovian.” I think I’ll trademark it like Zuckerberg is trying to trademark “Face.” What an ass. Ass face.)

With time, though, it’s loosening up. This cream filled strawberry roll is helping the juiciness come out. Still, I wouldn’t guess the Merlot came from Washington, let alone Chateau Ste. Michelle.

Wine & Spirits gave this 92 points, which is very generous. However, it’s not a 90-point wine. I’m going to say 88 points.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day sixty-six (Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2007)

Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2007I accidentally had a sip of the Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 from Columbia Valley, Washington. I had the sip before the ritual. The ritual of waiting. The ritual of letting the wine breathe. The ritual of smelling the nose and letting my imagination wander into some other realm or story making and fantasizing of tastes and emotions and feelings and anticipations. Before the ritual of holding the glass to a white wall to observe the color, and before looking down into the glass for opacity and any wine monsters. Before studying the meniscus.

Before all of that I sipped the wine, and it was lovely. I immediately tasted joy. I tasted the juiciness of the Columbia Valley. I smiled. I was happy. I was prompted to write about it.

The taste has since left my mouth, so I have to go at this ritual backward.

The nose is fruity and of berries, definitely cherries. And there is vanilla and a hint of caramel. It almost smells like a Merlot, and if given to me blind, I’d probably guess Washington Merlot. I guess the Washington terroir that I always taste in its Merlots extends to its Cabernet Sauvignons.

The color is dark purple, but it’s about 80% opaque, which is too thin for a Cab. But that doesn’t matter if it tastes good. It does, however, have the long lingering legs of Cabernet Sauvignon. The meniscus is pretty tall, so it might not be ready for drinking.

To the tasting again.

The first sip was better. This time it’s more sour. I pick up some green apples, too. I like the finish of spicy cherries. I like this wine. I wonder if I like this Cab better than Columbia Crest’s Cab, which is also from Washington? (Not the Columbia Crest that topped the Wine Spectator Top 100. I’m sure that was better. Much better. I wish it hadn’t sold out before they announced it winning. But I’m talking about the other Columbia Crest Cabs.) Anyway. This is a good wine for $12. It’s fickle, but it comes through in the end.

I bet it would go good with plum tomatoes or a dish that included plum tomatoes.

The Wine Spectator gave it 89. Hmm. I don’t know. It’s not quite there for me. It’s a bulging and oozing 88. I’d say 88.9.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day sixty-two (14 Hands Merlot 2007)

I must share pictures of the pumpkins my girlfriend and I carved yesterday. They are pretty awesome.

Our Pumpkins

14 Hands MerlotNot bad for two amateur pumpkin carvers with only four hands. The one on the right is supposed to be screaming, but I think it looks like it is yawning. Maybe we took the picture too early in the morning.


To the wine – 14 Hands Merlot 2007. If you like Washington Merlots, you will like this one, especially at the sale price of $9.

It has a dark purple color that is 75% opaque. The nose is very mild, but it has cherries, plums, and vanilla. My girlfriend gets freesia.

It is juicy, but it has a semi-dry finish. It tastes like dark cherries and currants both of which have been lightly dipped in chocolate.

I would call the shape of this wine round. And might I add full.

The finish has some bitterness, but not much.

This is a good everyday wine. I’m going to give it 88 points because it put me in a good mood.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day sixty (Apothic Red 2008)

Apothic Red 2008Tonight’s wine is Apothic Red 2008. It’s a blend of “Flavorful Syrah, Rich Zinfandel, and Smooth Merlot,” so says the back label. More specifically, “it is a blend of 45% Syrah, 44% Zinfandel, 9% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon.” That’s what Robert Parker said in his review. More specifically he said:

I am breaking my own rules about only reviewing Napa wines in this report simply because this is one of the greatest bargains I have ever tasted from California. Made by the Gallo family, it is a blend of 45% Syrah, 44% Zinfandel, 9% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon that comes from primarily Lodi as well as Sonoma, the Central Coast, and Napa. Discounters will undoubtedly have it for even less than $10. A hedonist’s dream, this fruit-bomb exhibits loads of berry fruit, pepper, and spice, silky tannins, and an attractive mouthfeel. Neither heavy nor overly alcoholic, there are 15,000 cases of this beauty, which will provide enormous relief for weary, recession-challenged wine consumers. It should drink well for 1-2 years. Bravo to Gallo!

Damn. That’s a fine review. It makes you want to go out and buy a case.

Now, it’s not that I don’t trust Robert Parker, but I want to share my sensations. Oh, I do hope this is the juiciest wine. After sixty days, it’d be well worth it. So here it goes.


Black Forest CakeWell, the nose definitely a fruit bomb. I’m drooling. I can smell the Merlot and some vanilla. It kinda smells like a Black Forest Cake.

Already I’m thinking they made this wine just for me.

Alright, what else is in there?

I think there might be black berries, too. I can’t get anything else, though there is definitely more in there.

Let’s taste, shall we?

Wait, I just looked at this. The meniscus is almost non-existent. That’s so rare to find. It’s so, so thin and of one color. Usually there are two or three layers to the meniscus, and the top layer is always clear. The clear layer on this one is hair thin, and the pink-purple layer below it is three hairs thin. Well, maybe six. It’s thin, man. Thin. Usually that only occurs with older wines.

Matured WineHas this wine matured? Oh my. I’m giddy.

Let’s taste, shall we?

It’s peppery up front and of sweet and sour cherries on the finish. It’s a sweet wine. Not like Finger Lakes sweet or Red Cat sweet. Just sweet for this type of blend. It must be coming from the Merlot.

Actually this is kinda thin for a blend with so much Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cab.

I’ll agree with Robert. It’s good for $10. Though the sweet finish is getting bothersome. It would go good with a curry or many Indian and Thai foods. This would go good with shrimp in garlic sauce from a Chinese restaurant.

Alone, the sweetness is getting to me. It’s not too bad. I’d say 87 points.

If you like a sweeter wine, you’ll like this. If you tend to the dry, you probably won’t like this.

Now that I think about it. This is like a desert wine, but thiner. Serve it with ice cream on the porch in the summer or with waffles and syrup in bed some Saturday morning in December during a snow storm. Then go outside with some hot chocolate and catch snow flakes with your eyelashes.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day fifty-nine (Chateau Malbat Bordeaux 2006)

Tonight is my girlfriend’s birthday, so I am making Spaghetti Puttanseca with Flaked Tuna sans Olives. With it I will serve, Chateau Malbat Bordeaux 2006.

Kevin Smith in MallratsThe name does not inspire much confidence because I immediately think of Kevin Smith in Mallrats as he tries to fly through the mall in his Batman outfit.

Chateau Malbat Bordeaux 2006A little research tells me this Bordeaux is 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc.

A little research also tells me there aren’t any good pictures of this wine and none show the whole bottle, so here’s the best picture on the internets.

The first thing I smell in this 75% opaque but spirited purple wine is the Merlot. It smells like a wonderful Merlot from Washington. So cherries, green apples, a little cola, and some caramel or vanilla. The Merlot dominates the nose. There are also currants and maybe some plum.

I think my favorite part about any wine is the nose. It’s so evocative in sense and imagination.

This tastes nothing like its wonderful nose. It’s not bad, but it’s not wonderful. I get cloves on the palate and tobacco on the finish. The acidity makes me think it will go good with tomatoes. Maybe the spaghetti puttanesca with tuna that I ‘m serving.

There is a definite battle going on between the Merlot and the Cab Franc. And the two disparate tastes aren’t jiving well. It needs an alimentum interruptus. It needs red alimentum. Or maybe a few more years.

This wine is okay. By itself, it’s 86-87. With some tomatoes in spice and garlic, the tobacco really comes out, and it flies like Kevin Smith to 88.5 points. And like the flying Kevin Smith in Mallrats, it comes up a little short.

Yet, with the tomatoes, it is still Yum.//

The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

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