Monday, 19 March 2012

Merlot for March

Eight of us for the March get together. A small but sophisticated group (ha ha) tasting one of my least favourites.. Merlot..

There is a classic line in the film Sideways, where Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti) an unsuccessful writer & a wine-aficionado, is about to go into the Restaurant and makes his feelings clear, that they were not going to order ' any f**~@*~~ Merlot '  that sums up my feelings too, not that I'll hold that against our hosts Mark & Linda. 

However, there is always an exception as 'they' say, whoever 'they' are... I actually thought that the Merlot we brought was quite good.  It did also come out tops for the evening.. no I am not feeling big headed about this, in light of my above Merlot feelings I gave as much thought to buying this wine as I would to buying a power tool..none !

A little Merlot background for starters ~

Merlot (pronounced Mare-LOW) is a darkly blue-coloured coloured grape, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to derive from the Old French word for young blackbird, merlot, a diminutive of merle, the blackbird (Turdus merula), probably from the colour of the grape.

Merlot-based wines usually have medium body with hints of berry, plum, and currant. Its softness and "freshness", combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot a popular grape for blending with the sterner, later-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon, which tends to be higher in tannin.  Here I would like to add that I always think Merlot has the smell of wellie boots !

Anyway... on with the evening, we started rather surprisingly with a Hungarian Merlot from John Lewis, not bad, this one came in second.. a jammy cherry flavour with a slight pepper finish.

Next was the WINNING Gallo Merlot, lots of berry aromas, very smooth & velvety, hints of cream soda (would that be vanilla ??)  a good wine for £6.49 from Co-op.

Followed by a rough tart one from France( this provoked numerous comments !!) also lots of tannin, needles to say the only person who liked it was Mark, Mr Bordeaux lover...

We finished with the most expensive wine of the evening, sadly disappointing, proving the more you spend the better the wine doesn't always ring true (ask yourself...why spend much on a Merlot..or is that just me) & even more shockingly it was Australian, not often you get a dodgy Australian, well actually you probably do.. but not in wine..ha ..ha.. ha.. well I thought it was funny :)

Comments were, bit rough, jammy, cherry and YES..wellie boots ~ actually thinking about it, does that make this wine the most 'typical' out of the four ??

A smaller group this time who enjoyed delicious food, especially Linda's superb lemon tart. Conversation covered a wide range of topics, latest books read, some more intellectual than others (!) we even got into politics after a few glasses of wine,  and for a change we could all hear each other & speak at normal levels, as opposed to the normal, who can shout the loudest approach.

It was nice to welcome Terry & Karen who, it has to be said had let their attendance slip (just joking we know you have 'other' friends) although they are making up for it, next one at their house, with the challenge of English wine..better start searching now !

Time to stick a cork in it.

Bye S x