Monday, February 8, 2010

Fransican Merlot 2004... 3 Liter

This bottle definitely turned the heads of my friends!  A great looking label and bottle doesn't do much for me though, I need to find out what's going on inside the bottle.  I was determined to try this wine, since I was told it may not last much longer, and so I began hacking away at the big wax covering the cork.  After about 10 minutes of using improper wax removal tools, I finally got to the cork... I think they used a whole cork tree on this one!  After making our "Big Cork" jokes, I was finally ready to try the wine...

Right out of the glass I could tell it was going to need some time to breathe, but I gave it a try anyway.  Sure enough, it was dry and tannic, in fact it was very tannic.  This made me question if I had made the right decision in opening the bottle in it's 5th year of development, but I believe I made the right choice.  It seemed like it was going to open up very nicely, so I remained patient as the game went on.

As the wine opened up throughout the evening, right around the middle of the second quarter, I enjoyed the big soft Merlot fruit that came through in every sip, surely a well made wine, but I noticed that the tannins were still very pronounced.  I was hoping that they would have softened up as time went on, but it seems that they are just a part of this wine.  If I had to guess, I would say that this wine definitely stayed in contact with stems and leaves for a bit longer than it was intended, or at least longer than I can appreciate in a Merlot.  Now with food, it was fine, and complemented the Cheese and Artichoke Dip rather well, but to stand alone the tannins were quite overpowering.

I am glad I was the only one to try the wine, because I don't think the others would have been able to appreciate the good merlot fruit, which it did display, through the mouth drying tannins that were practically unavoidable.

Now this bottle of merlot usually sells as  a 750ml for about $20, and I think there are much easier drinking merlots that show similar fruit for less.  So as I grade this wine, I will have to give it a NO GO, it is just Not Able!

Thank you for reading, I look forward to your comments and suggestions!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Averill Lake California Cabernet 2006 $12, round 2

I was recommended to try this wine, because I asked for an inexpensive Cabernet that was a good typical style of Cabernet Sauvignon.   I like to take a recommendation from the store clerks to see where there tastes are, and how accurate their recommendations are.  I should have remembered this guy's name, because I think he made a great recommendation on this one!

Averill Lake 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon drinks great right out of the bottle, and after 3 days of being "Vacuu'Vin'd", it is holding up quite well.  I like to see how much "mileage" I can get out of my bottle, and this one was just the same, if not better 4 days later!  It probably would have developed fine with the original cork put back in, giving it a little oxidation, but I didn't take any chances, now I know for the next time.

It has a clear dark ruby to purple color, and a pale rim.

On the nose, I smell sweet candy, ripe black fruit, black currant, a hint of chocolate, and vanilla.  The alcohol comes through a little on the nose, giving it a bit of spice.

On the palate, I get some nice fruit up front balanced well with medium acidity, and medium tannins.  The finish is short lived, but pleasant, making me want to go back for a second sip...

... I get that big candy fruit right away on the nose, and fresh fruit comes in right at the tip of the tongue.

This wine will drink well into next year and may last a few more, but I think it can be enjoyed perfectly now with your favorite red meats, burgers, and would go great with a wine cheese pairing, maybe some sharper cheeses that can cut into the fruit and tannins... if you have any ideas on cheeses, let me know!

I think this wine is well worth the money, and since I found it for $10, it's a bargain!