Posts Tagged ‘Merlot


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.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day fifty-seven (Pedroncelli Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek ValleyThree Vineyards 2007)

Pedroncelli Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley Three Vineyards 2007Tonight’s wine is Pedroncelli Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley Three Vineyards 2007. I went to the vineyard’s website to find an image. While I was there I saw that this wine isn’t all Cabernet Sauvignon. Here’s the technical information:

Appellation: Dry Creek Valley Composition: 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot Aging: 12 months, French and American Oak barrels Alcohol: 14.4% Acidity: .622g/100ml pH: 3.62.


And it’s three vineyards because:

Three of Pedroncelli’s estate vineyards provided the fruit for this wine. Comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, these varietals develop exceptional character in the vineyards sites situated on the Dry Creek Valley bench. This area receives the right amount of sun and cooling fog which develops optimal flavors in the grapes. Careful vineyard management during the growing season defines our style even more.


So we got a balancing act between three grapes, sun, cooling, and vineyard management. Let’s see how it goes.


It’s 75% – 80% opaque, which is quite transparent for a Cabernet Sauvignon. And the color is a bit light for a cab, too. However, it has the fat legs of a cab. And it has the nose of a cab – deep, dark, and complex.

On a deeper inhale, though, it doesn’t smell like it is from California. It smells like a Finger Lakes cab. More specifically, the Cab Franc is taking over the nose. I don’t much like Cab Franc, unless blended as it is here, but this one smells like a Finger Lakes Cab Franc, which tends to be pretty good and very earthy – upstate New York earthy. In fact, I’d say the west side of Cayuga Lake and near the middle.

Strong InteractionThere’s a tension in this wine between the Merlot’s sweetness and fruitiness with the Cab Franc’s earthiness and sourness. It’s like the Cabernet Sauvignon is holding it together. It’s like a nuclear wine. In the nucleus of this wine’s atom are the Merlot proton and the Cab Franc neutron and the Cabernet Sauvignon’s strong force is holding them together.

If you like Cab Franc, you’ll like this wine. It’s tasty and well balanced.

I like this wine a bit, but for me, it needs less Cab Franc. I wouldn’t buy it again, but I wouldn’t turn it down if offered to me.

The Wine Enthusiast gave this 91 points. Despite my recent distrust of the Wine Enthusiast based on it’s very generous rating of a Bare Foot wine, I understand this high rating. Though I think it closer to the 88-89 range.

The more I sip this, the more I like it. It gets more smooth.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day fifty-six (Chateau Ste Michelle Merlot 2005)

Today and tonight is submissions day and night. I haven’t been sending out a poems in a while, and now I must start again. I made a list of 50-55 journals to send to. I even found some that like long poems, such as Permafrost, Tusculum Review, Georgia Review, Artful Dodge, Alaska Quarterly Review, Gettysburg Review, Snowy Egret, Rattle, Hawai’i Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Chiron Review. The list is necessary because I have solid 3 1/2 page poem to send. It’s solid with fresh images, energies, and movement. The poem keeps moving. No lulls. I hope this goes well.

Chateau Ste Michelle Merlot 2005I also hope the Chateau Ste Michelle Merlot 2005 goes well, too.

I love Washington Merlots. I think Washington is making the best Merlots lately. At least of the new world wines. I don’t much care for old world wines anymore. If this is a typical Washington Merlot, it will have cola in it – a cola terroir.)

The Chateau Ste Michelle Merlot 2005 must have lots of alcohol because I can smell it from here, which is about two feet away as I lean back in my desk chair.

The alcohol is dominating the nose. I’m getting a cherry cola, smoke, leather, and a green fruit.

I think this needs a little more time to open. As it is now, this Merlot ain’t kickin’ it for me. It’s not at all juicy, and it has slight bitter finish. But I do enjoy the cherry-vanilla cola taste.

Actually, it’s not bad til the finish. It goes from an 88 to an 86 because of the finish.

Sigh. I used to like this wine, but not tonight.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day fifty-five (Duckhorn Merlot 2007)

Duckhorn Merlot 2007The California Cabernet Sauvignon extended mini tour has ended. I didn’t even know it ended until now. I thought I had bought Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, but it was the Duckhorn Merlot 2007. Sigh.

But not really a sigh. This is supposed to be an exceptional wine. Duckhorn Vineyards in Napa Valley has limited production and distribution, but it has a long history of good wines. Going back to 2000, places like the Wine News and the Wine Enthusiast give it 90+ points for each vintage. (Remember though, I’m distrustful of the Wine Enthusiast after it’s 87 points for the Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon.) Duckhorn Vineyards is apparently so good, it has a cult following. They must be rich cult members because this bottle costs $54, but I got it on sale at Mahan’s for $40.

This bottle has been open for about three hours, and there has been wine in the glass for at least an hour. So it should be open.

It’s pretty dark for a Merlot. It’s about 95% opaque, but the color isn’t dark. It’s ruby in color, and the tall meniscus is sunset purple.

The nose has cantaloupe, cola, eucalyptus, strawberries, and a hint of black pepper.

On the palate are tart green apples, blackberries, cherries, smoke, and it’s kinda juicy. But the juiciness disappears on the dry finish – dry for a merlot.

The texture is quite amazing in its resilience.

In the end, I’m not getting the greatness from this. It’s a good wine, but it’s not $53 or $40 good.  I’ve had equally as good for $12. Still, I’ll say 88 points.

Why does the nose of each wine I try always seem so good? I mean, the wine itself is rarely better than the nose, often as good as the nose, but not often enough is it as good as the nose. If I ever had to quite drinking wine, I’d still order wine with dinner just to smell the bouquet . . . and then to imagine. The nose is, after all, the most imaginative part of the wine. It is always my favorite.

I must have had a bad bottle. Sigh.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day twenty-eight

Marquis Philips Sarah's Blend 2007It’s July 4th, and I’m about to go on the roof to watch other towns’ fireworks. That’s right. Other towns’. As in firework displays from multiple towns. Last year at this time, my girlfriend and I were able to witness firework displays from 17 towns except Brockport’s. Last night, we watched from the roof and saw Brockport’s and about four other towns. Tonight I expect we will see a dozen and maybe Rochester’s, too, which is celebrating its 175th birthday. So soon I will be on the roof drinking Marquis Philips Sarah’s Blend 2007.

I’ve had this before, maybe not the 2007, but I’ve had it, and it was wonderful and juicy. So here’s hoping the country’s and Rochester’s birthday can be celebrated, in part, with a juicy wine.

Sarah’s Blend is 62% Shiraz, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. It’s a strong Cab Franc.

It smells fruity and juicy with plums and maybe some vanilla and caramel.

It has a slightly sour finish, but that may be the peanuts I just had, which wasn’t a wise move. The body is almost perfect for a juicy wine, but it’s slightly too thin. Nothing at all to complain about, and I like it.

The peanut taste is gone now after a few sips. The sourness is gone. There is a little dryness and pepper in the finish.

This is a really good wine filled with currants and over ripe plums and dark cherries and a subtle hint of almost ripe strawberries.

It’s yummy and jammy. It’s dry and jammy joy.//

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

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