Tag Archive: Merlot


“Kosmos” 2014

Kosmos 2014 is an organic red blend made by Gerard Bertrand. This wine is simply classified as “Vin de France,” from the South of France, which allows Bertrand more freedom, than a more stringently regulated classification.

Warm florals, beautiful spice, but big, black plums, fresh plum  juice, and blueberries, evolves into raisins. The body is nice and comfortable, but not not flabby or lean. The finish lasts on the palate, complimenting baklava nicely. This wine is composed of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cab sauv, merlot, Malbec, and Marselan. I haven’t seen Marselan in years, but I’m thrilled that it’s back- the last time we carried this wine at the Pan Handler, I bought many bottles, both as gifts and for personal consumption. This is one of the wines that we sampled Friday morning, to consider bringing it on board at work.

My nose, while much better than it has been, still isn’t 100%. My palate is back, as though I were smelling with it, but it’s weird…

Hopefully it will just get better from here. Kosmos was my favorite of the three wines.

Mas Donis Rosat 2013

Mas Donis Rosat 2013 was my second favorite Rose of this tasting. his wine comes from Capcanes, Spain. It’s composed of Grenache, Syrah, and Merlot. All of these grapes can be used for blending, Syrah, having the least history as a blending grape. All of these are big and juicy, yet the blend that Celler de Capcanes has created is light and delicate, like a rose, itself. It’s nose is roses, white peach stones, apricots, strawberries, and dark shale with hints of lava stone. Mas Donis Rosat is everything that a rose’ wine should be to me. It’s light, summery, enough body to feel like it was there, enough of a pleasant finish to ease you back to your feet after a “hello twirl” from a friendly companion, but doesn’t keep spinning you unpleasantly.
I was just speaking with a friend of mine about Rose’ wines. He said that he prefers them to reds, and wasn’t sure why. My response:
Rose’s are carefree, and light. They don’t feel like an undertaking. They’re a group out at the beach, or a road trip with hair blowing in the breeze. Reds are backbone, tradition, the cathedrals, and mountain top monasteries. Even at their lightest, reds are a night on horseback with a campfire. They still require planning, and at the least, already having the equipment in place.

The Velvet Devil Merlot 2012

This isn’t necessarily what I would call a varietal wine, because it isn’t true to the Merlot grape, but it is a delicious side note to an evening. This wine is by Charles Smith, rocker turned winemaker, with grapes from the Columbia Valley in Washington. this wine is beautifully smooth, and fruity without being syrupy or cloying like one might expect. It has lovely black tannins, dark sage, cinnamon, and super-juicy black cherries.
Believe it or not, this wine is actually well paired with candy-corn and milk chocolate peanut butter Lindt balls.

J. Lohr Merlot 2011

This is a delightfully enjoyable merlot from Paso Robles, CA. I won’t say that this wine is typical of it’s variety, a wine made to honor a varietal’s best qualities- it’s obviously been created for the American palate – two words: Fruit Bomb. It’s big with black cherries, red plums, red licorice, with some excellent baking spice. The finish is this marvelously long apple spiral. It might not have been the most perfect of merlots (if there is such a thing), but it was tasty.

Cameron Hughes Meritage 2012 is a young wine, but thoroughly well put together. This blend from Napa Valley consists of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It’s a swirl of colder black fruit, blackberry juice, black cherry sorbet, welcoming tannins, figs, and sweet dark melons.The fruit in this wine is absolutely marvelous, in a topically enchanting sort of way. It’s like a fairy tale, beautiful, fantastical, whimsical, and tasty, with a pleasing finish of happily ever after.

Gran Passione Rosso 2012

Gran Passione Rosso is a blend of merlot and corvina from Campana Italy. It’s made in the apassimento method, where the grapes are dried before pressing. This adds a raisin characteristic that is pleasant and rich in tandem with the red raspberry flavors and old plum juice. However, this wine is not terribly friendly. It lacks complexity, and is not very good on its own. It might be good with food, but I sincerely doubt it.

CLos la Coutale 2010

This red blend from Cahors France is a stunner, and takes a moment to open up. It’s a bled of 80% Malbec, 20% merlot by Philippe Bernede, and imported by Kermit Lynch. When it does open, this wine is a deep pool of savory herbs, hints of violets, roes juicy blackberries, and a huge black plum body. It has a great spicy finish that melts away into black plum, and luscious fruit.

Clos La Coutale 2010

Clos La Coutale 2010 from Cahors France is a splendid blend of 80% malbec and 20% merlot. The merlot lends spice and structure to the giant juice of the malbec. This wine, imported by Kermit Lynch, takes some time to open up, but it has beautiful savory herbs, hints of violets, roses and super juicy black plums and blackberries. It has a fantastic spice to its finish, but as it opens, it gives way to luscious black fruit, with an enticing finish. This wine is fabulous, France’s slight biting tongue, with all the relaxing drizzle out in the countryside.

Clos La Coutale 10

Keenan Merlot 2009

Keenan Merlot 2009 is a stunning blast of deep ruby, with waves of black plum juice, and savory spice. Keenan Winery is known for its merlots, and well deservedly so. This merlot isn’t the overly sweet quaffing wine that one might expect from today’s merlots. Just as this merlot isn’t sweet and sugary, it also isn’t the blast of dry tannin that some have achieved. This wine is what one might call a brilliant piece. The Keenan Winery is high in the Mayacamas Mountains in California, just over Napa Valley. Originally belonging to Peter Conradi, the vinyard operated until Prohibition, and was sold to and re-vamped by Robert Keenan in the 1970s.

Keenan’s 2009 Merlot is a slow ballroom dance, under chrystal chandeliers, to music that sings each flavor’s song. I always see these simple labels, but I never imagined how beautiful the art beneath them could be.

Gundalch-Bundschu-Sonoma-Valley-MerlotGundlach & Bundschu’s 2009 Merlot is a wild savory whirlwind of sweet blackberries, anise seed, wild sage, big juicy black fruit, shavings of chocolate, cinnamon bark and dashes of lusty vanilla. This wine is a burgundy dress at a black tie affair covering vanilla skin, tart raspberries, and mouth meltingly velvet tannins. This Merlot is not the Cool-aid like sugary juice that the public has come to expect.

Gundlach and Bundshu come from Sonoma County, and is reputed to be one of the, if not the oldest family owned winery in California. It was purchased in 1858 by Jacob Gundlach. There are many other gems that come from this winery, but this is a lovely, wild taste of California.