WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby Leticia Sanchez » Fri Jun 09, 2006 2:40 pm

:D

Terry, Have you tried the Coppola Claret Cab? I tried it at a restaurant with several delicious Italian dishes. I loved the creamy, full bodied texture of this cab. I have only been able to get the 2003 and not the 2000, which is what I had that memorable night. I am planning to buy several bottles at a wine shop that's quite a way from my neighborhood. No matter, I am willing to drive for this.
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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby Terri T » Fri Jun 09, 2006 3:04 pm

I haven't. If you do get some would you be able to maybe post the label? So that I can see what it looks like?

Another smooth wine I had that was a surprise was the Jacobs Creek Shiraz Reserve 2000. I was very surprised by it.

This is a lot of fun. t
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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Fri Jun 09, 2006 4:06 pm

Wow, this thread is sure bring some people out of the shadows. It's always good to hear some new voices and opinions.

Welcome Terri, Leticia, Daniel (and anyone else that snuck in here).
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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Jun 10, 2006 8:05 am

Hi Bill. I was wondering if we are supposed to post our merlot notes here or is it better to post under a " new topic"? Guess everyone is away at the great event right now!! Have you been looking in on you-know- where?
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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby Elisia S. » Sun Jun 11, 2006 3:52 pm

I'm gonna take a chance that you guys won't completely skewer a newbie and "defend" the poor merlot.

A friend brought a bottle of "Cellar No 8" Merlot (2004, Asti Vineyard, Sonoma Valley) to a party I threw about a week ago. We opened it, poured it, and took a sniff. BAM, I got hit in the face with raspberries and cherries. In fact, the smell was so overwelminginly fruity that I was thinking "oh great, we have kool aid wine - JUST what I wanted." (please note the sarcasm) We tasted it and took a minute or two to consider. It was a very light wine, very little complexity, "smooth" (which seems to be the word of death around here), hints of berries (thankfully, nothing like the aroma)... overall, nothing amazing to write home about.

And it worked. :shock:

Here's the thing - it had been a rather hot San Francisco Bay Area day, the gathering was informal; some people were drinkging wine, some beer, some were even sticking to soda. The the food ranged from chips and spicy salsa to veggies/dip, to San Francisco sourdough bagnette with spinach garlic dip, and the merlot was as much a "side dish" as the bread, and being so light, it played off of the flavors instead of competing with them. And we discovered that it was quite the compliment to the homemade bruchetta.

Would I stock up on this wine? No. Would I serve it at a tasting party? No. Would I want this in the colder months? Very much no. But for simple, light summer fare on a warm evening, it tasted good.
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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:02 am

Welcome to the forum and good notes for a "newbie". That is the whole point of WT 101, see what is happening, or not ,to Merlot. There is a long way to go this month and we will see some interesting notes for sure. I am about to post on an Okanagan merlot (BC).
BTW I am not familar with this winery.
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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:22 am

WTN: `01 Merlot Black Sage Vineyard--Sumac Ridge, VQA Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada.

Opened for an hour and not decanted. 13.6%alc and unfiltered. Two wines come to mind from this winery, the Brut and the Pinnacle which is a very big red that is much sort after.

Colour. Lightish garnet with the rim starting to show some bricking. Not as much depth of colour as I expected but this is 5 yrs old. Some clinging legs that run pretty fast.

Nose. Initially vegetal but blows off fast. Non-descript, some black fruits and earthyness but not too inviting. Has tad more merlot character after 24 hrs.

Palate. Have to start off by saying this was a much better wine after 24 hrs. Bigger finish that is richer and briary. The initial entry mouthfeel was not pleasant, slight bitterness on the finish. Needs time and food I thought? Some blueberryand cassis, fair acidity and not all that tannic. Did not do too much for me last night but now is a much better wine. Cannot overcome the astringency without food however. Confused? Maybe!!!!

Cost was $20.00 Cdn.
NY Steak with Greek Salad which was not a bad match, considering the dressing.
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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Mon Jun 12, 2006 7:45 am

Elisia wrote:Would I stock up on this wine? No. Would I serve it at a tasting party? No. Would I want this in the colder months? Very much no. But for simple, light summer fare on a warm evening, it tasted good.
Welcome to the forum, Elisia. Everyone should have some of those summer wines around the house. Do you have any other favorites like that?
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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby JoePerry » Tue Jun 13, 2006 1:14 am

Elisia S. wrote:Would I stock up on this wine? No. Would I serve it at a tasting party? No. Would I want this in the colder months? Very much no. But for simple, light summer fare on a warm evening, it tasted good.


Elisia, I'm usually a purist when it comes to wine, but there are some hot summer days where the best thing in the world is a nice Kir Royale (bubbly & cassis), it is all about situational drinking.

Best,
Joe
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WTN: Schweiger 2001 Merlot - WT101 note

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Tue Jun 13, 2006 2:10 am

I was a little disappointed to see the WT101 theme turn out to be merlot for this month as I drank the only really good merlot I owned last month (or thereabouts - look for the TN on Gary Farrell Calypso Merlot if you're interested). And like a lot of other wine geeks, I tend to shy away from merlot in general. But I've been hearing about Schweiger wines for a number of years now and I'd never tried one. They're a bit pricey by my standards - this 2001 "Spring Mountain" went for $35 - but some people seem to like them quite a bit. Now, I've tried plenty of Napa merlots, I've been pretty disappointed by them in general, and they say that one definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. Paying $35 for another Napa merlot would generally begin to make me think I was fitting in uncomfortably well with that definition. OTOH, sometimes one is surprised, and I remember a Ravenswood Sangiacomo merlot from a number of years back that blew me away. So what the hell....

2001 Schweiger "Spring Mountain" Merlot, Napa Valley
. 13.6% alcohol.

Deep purple color. Nose of dark fruit, herbs, oak. In the mouth, this is a pretty decent wine. Not a blockbuster, it offers dark fruit on entry with some nice herbal overtones. Oak is well integrated. Nice full mid-palate, balanced acidity, with a mildly tannic finish. Overall, it's somewhat lacking in complexity, but it's a nice wine that gives evidence of being merlot in its herbal nuances over the dark fruit. Seems that they were aiming for more finesse than power. And praise the Lord, it comes in with <14% alcohol!!!

The verdict? For me, this was a very well-made wine that was not nearly as anonymous and over-the-top as many Napa merlots I've tried. Had it been more complex and interesting it might have even justified the price tag. As it was, I'd have been very happy to have paid $15 - $20 for it. But then, I'd prefer this wine to some $50 Napa merlots I've tasted over the last few years (one by Artesa that I had just last week comes to mind). So maybe Miles was at least part-wrong....


Mike

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Re: WTN: Schweiger 2001 Merlot - WT101 note

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:08 pm

WTN: `05 Merlot Hawkes Bay--Oyster Bay, NZ.

Screw cap, 13% alc and readily available it would appear. The colour is lightish, low intense centre. Fast running legs with some cling. The nose is average and does not excite at all, black fruits some oak.
Palate some herbyness and low tannins. Shortish finish but fair acidity. Blackcurrant and after an hour shows some sweetness but all pretty ordinary. The `04 was a much better wine by a long shot.

Cost was around $17.00 Cdn.
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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby Jenise » Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:26 pm

Would I stock up on this wine? No. Would I serve it at a tasting party? No. Would I want this in the colder months? Very much no. But for simple, light summer fare on a warm evening, it tasted good.

Elisia--well defended. There are a lot of wines that work very well at the moment--and where, in fact, a better, more complex wine would be almost wasted, or just too much. I remember a box of cheap Franzia brand box wine in Alaska that I turned my nose up at when I walked into the room, but ten minutes later after I had politely tasted a bite of raw seal meat? I HAVE NEVER BEEN HAPPIER TO SEE A GLASS OF WINE IN MY LIFE.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Oh dear

Postby Bonnie in Holland » Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:03 pm

Gosh, I just took the wine theory portion of the WSET Diploma Course exam today and this was one of the seven questions (of which you have to anwer five, with one being required) ... can you imagine?!?! I had to giggle when I opened the test...Almost exactly the question posed about merlot!
cheers, Bonnie
PS I didn't happen happen to answer this question about merlot, but I have just one answer as to whether Merlot can reach heights...it's a tough climb, but there's always Le Pin to prove it can be done!
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TN: 2001 Bogle Merlot, California

Postby JC (NC) » Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:27 pm

Once again Bogle comes through with a good QPR although I would not want to drink this frequently.
Probably around $8.00 at time of purchase.
Recent vintages (and probably the 2001 as well) are aged in American oak barrels for 12 months. Alcolhol by volume is between 13% and 14%. This wine did not taste tired five years after harvest. The winery is in Clarksburg, CA in the Sacramento Valley but I'm not sure where the Merlot grapes were sourced within California.
Dark purple color. Dense and opaque. Nose of dark plums and some mocha suggestions. Similar flavors. Some sediment on the final glass. Okay with beef stew or even chicken.

(I had already posted this in WT101 on the Netscape Community board--and also on http://www.wines.com--it's too much hassle to post it several places. I would like WT101 to be on one board or the other--Netscape of WLDG--not both) Is it TN on here and WTN on Netscape or vice versa?
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Re: TN: 2001 Bogle Merlot, California

Postby Daniel Paulson » Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:32 pm

Hello,
What is a QPR?

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Re: TN: 2001 Bogle Merlot, California

Postby JC (NC) » Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:38 pm

Sorry, Daniel. I usually explain that term in notes for those who aren't familiar with it but forgot to do it this time. QPR stands for quality to price ratio. A decent, drinkable wine for under $10 is nearly always a good QPR--you are getting decent quality for that price. A village-designated Burgundy that drinks like a Cru or Grand Cru (impresses the consumer as if it were a more expensive wine) is a good QPR even if it costs $30 or $35 because it is as impressive as wines that sell for $50-$60 or more.
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Re: TN: 2001 Bogle Merlot, California

Postby Carl Eppig » Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:43 am

Good definition of QPR JC. When it comes to Merlot however it is almost an elusive term unless you get a good deal of an East Bank Bordeaux or one those New World Merlots made from grapes in tiny pockets by wizards. When it comes to under $20 where most value is found, there is hardly any Merlot that doesn't taste like plums and oak, and not much else like the Bogle California. As far as the over $20, that is beginning to get out of my price range, but I will pick up a good QPR if I find one.
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Re: TN: 2001 Bogle Merlot, California

Postby Jenise » Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:55 pm

CARL!!!! Good to see you, we've missed you.

Do you get Washington Merlots back east? I think some of them will show you the kind of QPR you hope to find.
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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby Jenise » Thu Jun 15, 2006 1:03 pm

Bob P--just read your notes on the Oyster Bay and the Sumac Ridge. I remember how much you like the prior Oyster Bay wine, I had just seen it in a shop in Canada like the day before and you made me wish I'd bought it. Re the Sumac Ridge, the Black Sage is one of the big deal vineyards in the Okanagan, isn't it? I believe it's toward the south end of the Valley, down below Burrowing Owls' hillside vineyards. I know I've tasted several in Sumac's tasting room which I've visited twice now on two separate visits--many were good but none were quite compelling enough to tip me over the edge into 'buy' range. I've not exactly sure why not. Sounds like yours has held up well, but it hasn't developed any interesting secondary nuances.
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Re: WTN: Schweiger 2001 Merlot - WT101 note

Postby Jenise » Thu Jun 15, 2006 1:08 pm

Mike Filigenzi (Sacto) wrote: OTOH, sometimes one is surprised, and I remember a Ravenswood Sangiacomo merlot from a number of years back that blew me away. So what the hell....


Mike, Ravenswood's Sangiacomo merlot was the first California merlot that blew me away, too. I've been looking--to largely no avail--for that kind of complexity ever since. They aged wonderfully too--I think the last of the six pack I bought in the early 90's was drunk at around 8-9 years old. Every bottle just got more wonderful.

Your Schweiger actually sounds pretty nice--sure is hard to live up to a $35 price tag, though, isn't it?
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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby Elisia S. » Fri Jun 16, 2006 12:32 pm

JoePerry - hmmmmmmm, might have to try that. Usually I wouldn't dream of mixing my wine with anything, but there is something about summer that encourages the occasional wine cocktail.

Bill Buitenhuys wrote: Welcome to the forum, Elisia. Everyone should have some of those summer wines around the house. Do you have any other favorites like that?

Hi Bill! Thanks for the welcome! Let's see, summer wines... I ususally drink more whites in the summer, but that's almost too easy.

I'm trying out the trend of mixed reds right now and so far, the ones I've had have been a bit lighter and more "summery," at least in my opinion. This week I tried Folie a Deux winery's "Menage a Trois." (Zin, Merlot, Cab) It has a bit more weight than the merlot, but is still much softer than a Cab. There's a pleasing aroma to it that I just can't quite name yet that says "yes, I am a red wine!" The only downside is that the alcohol content is 13% and I notice it. But to balance this, one of its good points is that it "keeps" for the next day very well!
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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby Peter May » Fri Jun 16, 2006 2:34 pm

Covert wrote: And what is the consensus now - if you know - regarding why Miles chose Cheval Blank as his Holy Grail, given its half Merlot make-up? Granted Cheval Blank tastes nothing like Cal Merlot, but still!? Was it supposed to be a metaphor of his sad, self-contradictory nature?


My take is that it is simplistic to think that Miles didn't like Merlot. His frustrated statement outside the restaurant was to do with a certain type of Merlot and the people who drink it. He was on a serious Pinot pilgrimage and there was Jack making a dinner date with the intention of pulling rather than ascetically worshipping at the Pinot altar. Jack would be happy to drink the house merlot if that would get him inside some womans pants. Miles was persuaded to join the foursome, but not at any price. If they ordered merlot, he was leaving. Of course, as it turned out he found someone who cared as much about Pinot as he did.....

The disparaging comment about Cabernet Franc should also be taken in the light of him being irritated with the flirting between Jack and Stephanie. But he did say it was good for blending, and that is how it is used in his long saved special Cheval Blanc. No inconsistency there.
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Re: Not shunning Merlot in Washington

Postby Peter May » Fri Jun 16, 2006 4:03 pm

Daniel Paulson wrote:Hi All,
the most wonderful merlot (Wild Pig, i believe) in the world.


Wild Pig is produced by the team behind Fat Bastard . I don't know if Wild Pig brand is available in America but Fat Bastard Merlot is and you will find that it is very similar ;)

see http://www.fatbastardwine.com/about_merlot.htm
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Re: Not shunning Merlot in Washington

Postby Daniel Paulson » Mon Jun 19, 2006 12:07 am

Hi Peter,
Yes, as a matter of fact, Fat Bastard IS readily available in my area. Thank you so much for the info! I'll pick up a bottle tomorow.

I hope I still enjoy it as much as I did 5 years ago :D

Cheers,
Daniel
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