Well it certainly pays to make friends with the folks at your local wine market. I was recently at the Byerly's Wine market near me where I usually make most of my purchases when I struck up a conversation with one of the folks there (I'll call him "Dr. P"). As we chatted about German wines, American wines and wine blogging he mentioned that many folks insist that they cannot drink red wine because of "red wine headache".
He has developed a list that eases folks with such a sensitivity back into enjoying the worlds Reds. This is only one reason why it pays to chat it up with your local wine merchant. They want you to enjoy wine. Red, white, sparkling, blush, whatever. The world of the enophile is one rife with flavors and smells and tastes and textures to rival any other culinary enterprise.
So Dr. P and I started talking about wines with a nice finish which is when he recommended this $13.99 (again about $2 or $3 over what it would go for at a discount mart or online) bottle of French Merlot - Luc Pirlet 2003 Merlot.
Here's the realtime review:
Eyes: deep garnet and young around the edges
Nose: Big Fruit Forward with notable cherries and strawberry and just a hint of an oily mineraliness
Palate: Acids are weak and the tannins are rampaging but this is just after opening. I expect that they will flatten out and reveal a more balanced structure. From a feel perspective it is not as heavy or dense as I would have expected. It borders on just the right side of thin so that it cannot be considered light. Still the limpid texture does not hold flavor well (at least not right now - I'll let it breathe for a while).
Finish: The finish is drawn out but, like the flavor, thin. This makes for a pleasingly subtle finish and mouth feel. But, from a flavor perspective, not much to write home about.
We'll give this some air and update this post in a bit with the results.
Well, the wine has been breathing for about an hour. The tightly wound tannins have softened nicely and the palate has really opened up from what it was.
The Nose is still full of big cherries but there are also some cocoa and anise layers hiding underneath the cherry.
The palate is still thin for my liking. The strawberries that were on the nose just after opening have migrated to the palate now to impart some flavor there along with the cherry.
The finish is still lingering but thin and the previously slim acid structure is starting to bite.
For the money this is a wine to pass by if you're looking for a solid Merlot. There are much better examples of the varietal available in the $10 - $15 dollar range. If you are a fan of beaujolais or other "light" reds, then this may be your gateway merlot. Still, this wine lover says it was ok to try but I'll pass on it the next time around.
Raise a Glass!