8.5.09 I AM drinking F#&%king Merlot! (A California Merlot Tasting)

16 08 2009

On a warm summer day suited for merlovers, we sat down in SF’s Dolores Park for a juicy journey of  the enological equivalent of Ugly Betty: Merlot. Since the movie Sideways came out (see above pic), Merlot has been getting a bad rap from ignorant D-bags. Done right it can delicious and smooth as a baby’s bott… -le of wine. Here’s what we tasted:

2006 Thomas Kruse “Claire’s Field” Merlot, (Santa Clara Valley, CA), $13. I got berry stink on the nose. Nikki smelled blackberry, cinnamon stick, and mint. Tim found it dirty and woodsy.
The palate had flavors of soft cherry with mellow tannin. Nikki pointed out the high acidity, red licorice flavor, and something weird on the finish. Tim found it mild with not a whole lot to it. Aight, but we can do better.

Next up, a 2006 TEIRA Merlot (Sonoma County, CA), $15. After sticking my big schnoz in the glass and contemplating, I noticed some spicy clove action alongside the fruit. Fruitcake, anybody? No? Didn’t think so… Nikki got dark chocolate and Tim noticed jammy boysenberry with some nutmeg.
The palate gave us gobs of plum with brie and Bhavin noticing some grip from the tannins on the finish. At $15 bones, this merlot was our favorite yo.

After the TEIRA was a 2005 Cartlidge & Browne Merlot (CA), $15. Upon taking a whif or three (it was kinda windy in the park…) I got Welch’s grape juice and black pepper. Nikki surprised us by noting the aroma of the brown Mr. Sketch smelly markers we used as kids along with an artificial cinnamon scent.
The palate had intense blueberry and, not much else. Medium tannin. Medium rating. We couldn’t place a number on this wine, so we gave it a circle.

Last was a 2007 Calvet “Reserve des Ramparts” Merlot (95%)/Cab Sauv (5%), (St. Emilion, France), $10. One of my rare Trader Joe’s purchases, this one caught my eye while grocery shopping. Probably because it was 10 buckaroos. On the nose it immediately smelled French (nice and pretentious) with an herbal component. It smelled like weed. Actually, the weed aroma was probably the kids sitting near us at the park. :-/  Bhavin noticed a dirty/soil smell.
On ther palate there was some plum, Tim got lighter berries and pink peppercorns, and Nikki noticed some acidity with an almost citrusy component. An OK wine overall.

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