Wine Club Notes:

Long a supporting player, Merlot is ripe for a starring role in the world of wine.

Bodega Mariposa Cellars is helping achieve that dream by making a Merlot that can be enjoyed every day and with a wide variety of dishes.  But before we get to the specifics about Bodega Mariposa, a little history…

Merlot gained popularity as a varietal wine in the early 1970s, but until then it was used primarily as a blending partner of Cabernet Sauvignon. Even though Merlot contributed significantly to the finished product, Cabernet took all the bows.  Eventually, however, consumers found that because Merlot’s tannins are softer than those found in Cabernet, the wines are drinkable at an earlier age than most Cabs.

Bodega Mariposa makes a wonderful Merlot, and its 2011 bottling could serve as a benchmark bottling for the variety in California.  It’s everything a Merlot should be: soft, immediately approachable and downright delicious – a real star.

Tasting notes:

Grape Composition: Merlot & Other Red Varieties

Grape Sources: Select Vineyards in various California Growing Regions

Aromas and Flavors: Cassis, Black Olive, Assorted Berries and a Hint of Oak

Aging Vessels: Assorted Oak Barrels

When to Drink: Now through 2015

This easy-drinking wine offers notes of cassis, black olive, assorted berries and oak.

Food pairing suggestions: homemade meatloaf, or a beef pot pie

My Thoughts:

I hate black olives, or any olives for that matter, unless they’ve been soaking in the bottom of my martini(s), and I have no idea what a cassis is, but this right here, is a mighty fine Merlot.  I would add this Merlot to the list of red wines that have brought me over to the dark side (aka – the red wine side).  I love white wines, especially Rieslings and a well-oaked Chardonnay.  I think this is the point that bridges the gap.  A nice oaky Merlot is a lovely bridge from my love of a well-oaked Chardonnay.

This Merlot surprisingly had weak legs compared to most Merlots I’ve grown accustomed to.  This did not affect this Merlot in the least.  The nose was relatively light as well.  I was unable to discern any particular scents or aromas.  This was all in all, a very nice, light tasting, well-rounded Merlot.  Again, I couldn’t pick out any specific taste traits, but I am super fond of this Merlot.  My apologies for not being more thorough, but for one, I am super tired, and two, the only thing that jumps out to me about this wine is that it is super easy to drink, mellow in flavor, and would pair well with damn near anything.

On a scale of “this tastes like piss” to “oops, I just drank the whole bottle” I would give this a “I probably would have had a more thorough review but this bottle went way too fast.”  Would I buy it again?  Absolutely!  I have a feeling this will make it into regular rotation into my wine rack.

Final Grade: A

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