2000 Vergelen Merlot, South Africa
Vergelegen is one of South Africa's best wineries, and merlot is a grape that is particularly well suited to the Stellenbosch climate. This wine is proof of both. Almost black in color. Nose of green tobacco, cedar and blackberry, with concentrated blackberry, boysenberry, espresso, chocolate and spice on the palate. Dusty tannins lead into a long finish, and perfect acidity holds it all together. Drinking exceptionally well right now, the wine is at the perfect crossroads between primary flavors and secondary development. Notably, it lacks any of the smoked/roasted flavors so typical of South African wines and yet it still seems entirely of its place--it doesn't have the ponderous weight of a Pomerol, the red fruit elements of a California merlot or the blueberry muffin notes typical of Washington's. Wine lovers who tend to diss merlot should all be required to taste this wine before giving up on the grape.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov