When Lenn first suggested this event, I was on board immediately. We indulge in wine with every evening meal, and so we have made a fine art of finding wines that are affordable, yet extremely drinkable. A challenge that expands our horizons is always welcome.
And so we went shopping at the liquor/wine store in town that has the best selection of a wide variety of wines and found…. almost nothing.
I was a bit stunned. Oh, there was a plethora of California reds of any flavor. There were gaggles of Australian Shiraz/blends. But there was nary a new world Merlot in sight. We search up and down the aisles and eventually stumbled across a meager selection. And, without further ado, here’s what we chose:
Concha y Toro
Marques de Casa Concha 2002 Merlot
We served this with a Chilean Stew (recipe in a previous blog entry).
The back of the bottle states: From grapes of our prime Peumo vineyards in the Rapel Valley, this limited production Merlot has been barrel-aged in French Oak for fourteen months. With its intense plum and cherry aroma and flavour evoking the Peumo terrior, the wood adds generous hints of chocolate and vanilla. It is full-bodied with velvety tannin.”
Let me get this out of the way right off the bat, though it may get me kicked out of the ACME Wine Tasting Club: I never, ever taste chocolate or even vanilla in my red wine. Ever. (And trust me, I know the taste of chocolate well!) So I am always a bit at a loss as to what I’m supposed to be looking for there.
But I definitely agree with the statement regarding the intense plum and cherry aroma. In fact, one of the first thoughts that was blurted out was “Hey, for a $14.00 bottle of wine, this has a really nice nose!”. In fact, I’d say that was the defining point of this wine, which is a compliment, as the nose is one of the things that we enjoy the most out of a glass of red.
The other interesting thought that came out of the tasting: This wine had aggressive tannins that reminded us of one of our favorite grapes – Cabernet Franc. It was not a wimpy Merlot. While it lacked the smoothness of some of the higher priced examples of Merlot, it was a good example of the modern International style. (Greg made me say that, and when I protested, he said, “Ok, just say it was a decent wine for the price”.)
Perhaps the most noteworthy point of this wine was the weight of the empty bottle. No, seriously. It was much heavier than your average red wine bottle, which is a bit odd.
Would we buy this wine again? Probably.
So this was fun! What’s next? Bring it on!