Merlot, probably one of the most popular red wines in the world with Merlot mania hitting its height in the 1990’s especially in America but then in 2004 came the hit film Sideways in which actor Paul Giamatti who played Miles a Pinot lover, knocked its reputation with the immortal lines “If anyone orders Merlot I’m leaving” and “I am not drinking any f—ing Merlot.” this in turn elevated Pinot Noir to a new status.
Of course Merlot recovered and is still popular now and is a wonderful drink on its own or blended with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon for Bordeaux wine but if you’re new to red wine and are looking for something approachable with or without food, then you will find Merlot is often recommended and rightly so.
‘Between the Vines’ Merlot 2017
This particular bottle is a Washington State Merlot 2017. In the glass it was not a dark as I thought it would be with more of a muted garnet colour. There was a mixture of heady aromas of rich dark fruits, primarily blackcurrant, blackberry and plums. hovering over the glass there was also some chocolate and a distinctive clove like smell.
Taste is where this surprised me, it was much lighter than I expected with a lot of fruit on show, the fruit was juicy in the mouth with some bright acidity. Also making an appearance was some spice with a clove like flavour and a very slightly confected sweetness which will appeal to some. Tannins were fairly muted and not intrusive.
In summary this was very drinkable, I know it’s an overused phrase but it sums this up perfectly, despite its 14% abv it’s not heavy although there is a touch of heat from the alcohol. The perception of sweetness will as I said appeal to a lot of people, it’s not overly complex but doesn’t try to be.