Tag Archives: Merlot

Cheers!

17 Mar


I apologize in advance if this entry is more maudlin and less haha funny. Because I want to toast to family. Which matters.

Family is the…BEST thing. If it weren’t for my parents I…well I need not go on. 

So. Accelerating to the drink because I can tell you more of my not-haha-funny past my family saved me from later. History will always be there where we left it.

How many of us can create wines in honor of our papas? If I ever make a wine I would. That’s what Joseph Carr of Josh Cellars did when he made

Josh Cellars Legacy Red Blend

And the winery was kind enough to send some to me. If my family were in town I certainly would have shared the wealth. But it was Tuesday night in LA and I needed to write another wine blog and there was nary a soul to share with. So I am cheers-ing with the camera. With you.

My blog family.

I love you dear readers. Not as much I love my family but like, a whole bunch.

But because I love you I’ll stop being sappy and talk of this vino I would share with you.

Were you here. 

My lovelies.

Okay wine.

The grape varietal combo is luscious:

45% Merlot for the juicy alcoholic tastiness. 45% Zinfandel for those of us who like our rough and also slightly spicy stewed fruit. Then 5% Cabernet Sauvignon (everyone will drink it!) and 5% Petite Sirah (why not?).

This drink is indeed good for family because it is medium in almost every category. So no one will argue. It’s a balanced bottle.

To the eye: deep cherry-plum red, medium tears

Nose: clean, medium intensity, cherries, plum, tobacco and raisins, youthful (2014)

Tongue: dry, medium acid, medium tannins, medium alcohol (13.5% abv), medium body, medium flavor intensity, plums, raspberries, currants (red and black), stewed dried fruit (raisins, prunes, cranberries), vanilla, cigar box, cloves, allspice, medium finish

All over: good quality. Quite do-able. If I was at a party and someone handed this to me I’d be at home.

I’d take this wine home. Cheers!

Lovely

7 Feb


Oh hey chatty wine! This wine has a lot to say and I was up for listening. And reading. The winery sent me oodles of info on this lil’ sample from Columbia Valley:

Mullan Road Cellars 2013 Red Wine Blend

It’s a Bordeaux blend: 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec 

Oh okay okay let us talk about the taste. That’s what y’all are here for no?

Oh okay okay okay I am going to go WSET with the tasting notes but I’ll attempt to spice them up. If you want to skip all that I’ll just say this is a sexy blackberry jam of a wine with some delightful vanilla from its 16 months in oak (some new French, some American).

Here we go!

On ze Eye: Easy. Easy on the eyes. Ahem. Technically it is clear, medium ruby with slow thick tears.

In yer Nose: clean, medium, blackberry, vanilla, and allspice to put it simply. Youthful.

On ye olde Tongue: dry, medium plus acid and alcohol, so a thoroughly serious wine. But like fun serious. Like…I’m not sure things in the world have been unfun serious recently so… 

Body and flavor intensity: medium plus, both of them. Tannins are the medium. But all the acid and alcohol (14.3% abv) make me think this could be aged for some time. 6 years, say?

Flavours (with a u bc why not British): blackberries!!!!!! And as the French and cool people like you and I say: cassis. As in currants: mostly red. Boatloads of vanilla. And allspice! That’s the stuff! And probably some more spices like cloves and nutmeg but they are elegantly woven in so you don’t get the impression you’re eating a Christmas cookie although that sounds good right now…

Oh no now I want another bottle so I can pair it with gingerbread. Not that I have gingerbread right now. Or another bottle so all this will remain a fantasy. For now…

Drink now drink later just drink?

6 Sep


You know how sometimes even your most favorite food on earth, consumed at the wrong time, is enjoyed, but slightly frustrating because the environment is wrong? Like trying to eat a delightful split pea soup while, say, driving in summer. The taste, the color, this soup has it all! But it’s friggin’ hot and you are in a car and you wish you’d waited for optimum conditions.

Such it is for this wine because it is a bloody good wine but I opened it in my hot hot home without a nice bit of food to pair and it was great but cooler air would have made it greater. Don’t get me wrong. DRINK THIS gosh-darned wine. 

2013 Columbia Winery ‘Element’ Wahluke Slope

Actually having visited and tasted many of Columbia Winery’s wines I would advise giving any of their ditties a whirl. This blend came my way as a birthday gift from my aunt and uncle who reside in Washington within a quick drive of myriad excellent wineries.

So yah. Lots of Columbia wines to choose from but please do choose the right one for the weather? I mean I’m not sorry I opened this. Because good wine is excellent always. But in retrospect I’d have saved for a colder night. Let us unpack the details:

This wine had a full body. The tannins are a wee bit heavy handed on first pour but let it mellow in your glass a second, no matter how thirsty you are, and you’ll be rewarded by the effects of letting it breathe a bit. The blackberries, red cherries and currants will sing more sweetly. That crack of pepper will settle into the grooves of the vanilla bean that simply must have been hanging out in this bottle! Hint: it wasn’t a vanilla bean–it is just the effect of the oak this juice spent 19 months in.

The finish lasts deceptively long. It seems to fall off…but then! Oh then. It pulls out mellow notes of blueberry and happiness and oh…rainbows over mountain springs so take that and do what you might with it. If you dig rainbows you are a good person who should keep drinking these. If not? You and I do not see eye to eye yet. Please advise.

Big. Ass. Mine Yours Which What-evs

30 Aug


So Milano Family Wines is up to putting out some hot ass. So what. The. Hey. Okay.

I wanted to be opposed to this based on name but for some everyday drinking in, I could be into this shiz-nit.

Ass! Mine…yours..whoevers…I would never in a mil and yon years have purchased this but this is what online contests are for, to expose more people to wine they might not select otherwise.

Psssssst! I got this from a giveaway on the venerable Bri’s Glass of Wine site. Bri knows some good stuff so… I figured if I won the results would be dandy. 

I am confused that Milano Family Winery is, oh say, family? I mean, my fam is open. Mom explained sex, at least the mechanics as they apply to baby-making when I was maybe 7 and my father advised me in family therapy as an adult that I should consider pre-marital sex (I took that up it was a good idea) and yes I’m writing a memoir of my fuck-uped-ness but Big Ass family wine? Okay sure. But really.

How. Does. It. Taste.

That is what matters.

Wait, first! A PSA:

TEMPERATURE IS IMPORTANT! WHEN PEOPLE SAY SERVE RED WINE AT ROOM TEMP THAT SHOULD BE BETWEEN 55 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit!!!! NOT THE USA “72 is perfect” ROOM TEMP! THAT IS TOO FUCKING WARM!

If only I could go to every bar in the USA and help them with wine temperature. EVERYONE would appreciate wine more.

This Big Ass red ain’t bad. I shall endeavor to assess with a bit of the WSET 3 criteria. But first the tech info:

This is a Merlot/Zinfandel/Cabernet/Carignan blend aged in 20% French Oak. I am assuming the Cab is Sauvignon, not Cabernet Franc because most people, if they say Cab. mean the Sauv.  

But let us not dwell on tech, let us dwell on experience.

Okay now the WSET drill:

Appearance: Clear, deep purple.

Nose: Clean, medium (+), dark red cherries and currants, white pepper and cinnamon, fully developed.

Palate: Dry, medium acid, medium (+) alcohol (apparently it is 14.5 abv), medium (-) body, blackcurrant and red currant jam (what the what?! red and black true!) cinnamon, white pepper, black pepper, allspice and cinnamon and some sage. A whiff of tobacco and vanilla but I do not think aging would accentuate it therefore ergo—-

Drink now, little reason to age. Flavor intensity was medium (+) and

Finish: medium (-) it does not totally drop off but then it does not evolve and move me. Which is fine anything over low is helpful to making me wanna have some more.

Quality? According to the WSET probably somewhere around good. Maybe between acceptable and good (closer to good but good for WSET is better than most people’s “good”)which for this price is super. Like, I would sip this freely and happily. And be like, “Hey dudes, check this BIG ASS WINE!”. It is big. And look at my ass. Hint I do have a sweet ass.

I mean in general this is good, but there is not a thing I would call special or idiosyncratic to a grape, or region but..this delight would pair up with a snack or  a dessert or even it would just pair well with a…drinking vessel?  Wine is really good when you pair it with a wine glass.

There ya go.

Wisdom for the ages.

Kiss your ‘lot in life

22 Jun


I will give my musings but ALSO! My WSET analysis because my level two test is this Saturday so…

Okay, so peeps turn their noses up at that innocent lamb, the Merlot grape. But they forget that part of the esteemed Bordeaux is made of Merlot. So here I present to you a French Merlot, not from Bordeaux sure, but zee Fraunch have damn good tastes.

Vintage 2014 Le Concierge Merlot

from Pays D’Oc IGP

This très lovely vino will make you realize not all Merlot is evil. Okay, truth: so far I’ve yet to find a California Merlot to my exacting taste. However, this French example is terrifically likable. Terrific as in inspires terror? Only in a good way my lambs.

Is it something to swirl in your hands, mouth, and mind? To contemplate?

Fuck no.

However!

It is something to sip. Something to think on for a moment………dot dot dot……..and then!

You can say oh, yes, a perfectly fine example. It is just enough but not enough to derail the conversation with my non-wine-nerd chums about just how dirty downtown LA is compared with Other Large Metropolitan Areas aka NYC. Conclusion on that:

Comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges but both are dirty in their own special ways.

But if you are a wine asshole like me you can take a minute to think about this vin.

What did I, the resident sipper/thinker/muse-at-large(sothisactresslikestoimagine) wino think? In WSET 2 terms?

the Color: Medium-deep ruby with a whiff of purple

zee Nose: Medium strength strawberries, red plums and raspberries

thar (not a typo) Palate: relatively dry, somewhere between low and medium heavy body, LOW acid, LOWER tannins, low to medium low (somewhere between?) finish…like, this wine lasts a wee bit on the palate but not with nuance.

And the flavors: pretty dang similar to zee Nose: strawberries (roasted), raspberries (fresh) and just a hint of woodiness. But like A Wee hint. It takes someone thinking too hard to think that.

All in all: DAMN good please everyone summer wine.

Just DO NOT fucking mention that is Merlot.

bright cellars: wine RIGHT NOW

9 Dec

  
This wine, “The Present” Merlot 2014, is from another one of those subscription services that I am digging.

By all means go to this link and take the quiz. Take the quiz it is fun. And quick. And you will get a discount on your vino n stuff, yeaaaaaa. Bright Cellars was founded by MIT grads who developed an algorithm to guide you towards the right wine. And the more you rate the wines you try, the more refined that algorithm gets. I love nada more than mixing nerdery with booze. Well, I love acting and my family more but booze nerdery is high on the list.

This is Merlot YES! Merlot. The wine Sideways made everyone hate.

This wine is approachable, which may be why Merlot got a bad rep in the first place.

I’d say actually that is the MAIN reason why.

Think about it! In relationships, the more elusive and hard to get a person acts, the more we want them. Probably why I’m single. I never want the ones who want me. Grapes like Pinot Noir can be more elusive, delicate, and hard to decipher.

Merlot, however is more friendly. More in your face. Easy going. Merlot is happy as long as you are happy. And so wine snobs decided they’d had enough of overly eager Merlot. I mean, Merlot was texting us like, all the time! And like, never had an opinion of its own! It’s like “Oh, you like berries and vanilla? Then I do too!” So we shunned it and chased after Burgundies who turned up their noses at us with notes of cat piss and tar.

Forgeting all else here are my musings on The Present.

There is a juicy, nummy, sweet presence that makes the snob in me say no. But thing is, it is fucking delicious. And unlike the sweet wines I don’t like this is sweet in an un-cloying way. Maybe it isn’t sweet so much as fruity. There is a difference!

The berries: raspberry, strawberry and mmmmmmmmmberry. You taste it and say mmmmm berry!

It is smooth. It is pleasant. There is some vanilla and a wee bit of spice I couldn’t figure out so then I checked Bright Cellars’ notes, to see what they said. They said green pepper. I am not sure about that but there is a wee bit of pepper of some ilk in the finish.

This grape was from AWD Cellars in Santa Rosa, CA. So I am not sure precisely where in CA the grapes were grown but I’d like to think that my adopted home state can produce some tasty grapes. We are at least good at putting them in bottles with yeast.