Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Partie Merlot Pour Deux

My husband and I had an intimate wine tasting party this Friday by the fireside. I was the host this month, deciding upon Merlot as our grape in its varietal form. There were five labels for consideration, two from Washington, and three from California:

2007 J. Lohr Merlot Los Osos
2007 181 Wine Cellars Merlot Clay Station
2006 Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot Canoe Ridge Estate Vineyard
2006 Ghost Pines Merlot Winemaker’s Blend
2007 Charles Smith Merlot Velvet Devil

The bottles were allowed to breath for one hour prior to tasting. Britannia Crisps were used to clear the palate between wines. Korky’s meatballs were served along with a few other munchies.



- J. Lohr: The attack was harsh, though flavor mellowed into a nice cherry with deep flavored richness. Overall, a delightful wine, especially during second round of tasting.

- 181: Cherry nose, buttery short finish. (note: with my palate if a wine is enjoyable, the finish is usually a “butter-flavored” one, and not in reference to the wine being a Chardonnay). Floral notes throughout. Another keeper!

- Chateau Ste. Michelle: Not very impressive, taste barely discernible; hollow. A blend of tangerine and oak perceived. Fairly flat; thin-bodied. With a 2009-2011 drinking window, I have to question the quality of the wine. Will not re-purchase.

- Ghost Pines: Cherry nose, a little bit drier than the other wines; less tannins. Pleasant backdrop of almonds. I may be a wee bit partial to Louis M. Martini’s wines as all I’ve tasted thus far have been very good. A re-buy for this one!

- Charles Smith Velvet Devil: Gasoline nose up front; very offsetting. Plum-y taste towards mid-palate, buttery backdrop. I’ve tasted this wine in the past and compared to the other three California offerings, it doesn’t measure up. Re-purchase only if on sale.


Truthfully, the California wines fared much better than that of Washington state. I haven’t given up on our wine producers, but I need to taste a greater variety from different wineries.

After the first small samples, a break was taken to sufficiently clear our palates. Upon re-tasting, our favorite oscillated between J. Lohr and 181. J. Lohr got the tip of our fedora! A cigar to finish the evening, of course.

rainwriter jones

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