Merlot fest

Our local bMerlot nightlind tasting group, at my request, focused last night on Merlot. Why? Because I find it more difficult to detect than the Cabernets or even Syrah, which I also find a bit of a puzzle.  We had a good line up – seven wines, six of which I would be happy to drink or share in any company. Two Pomerols – one classic and showing some restraint (Clos Rene 2001) and one in the modern, über-style but excellent nonetheless (Clos de Clocher 2009); two Italians, both very attractive (Girolamo from Castello di Bossi and newcomer, Merlot 2008 from La Cura, near the Tuscan coast; three from the rest of the world – classic Napa from Shafer, a South African (bell pepper and tomato skin suggested Chile!) and one from Washington State (over-extracted and 15%).  And what can we say in general about this variety in its upmarket versions?  Deep colour, great intensity of mainly black fruit (blackberry, plum) with various levels of oak/tertiary interest: leather, smoke, dried fruits, some spice.  Mouthfeel is really the key – medium to medium plus in fullness, smooth to voluptuous; luxurious fruit over quite firm if medium tannins and medium acidity.  Posh Merlot may not be fashionable but it can be very good drinking indeed.  

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