A very nice event organized by Delegazione AIS Castelli Romani is a wonderful chance to make clear ideas about Merlot, a beloved but also denigrated variety of grape.
Beloved because it is perhaps one of the first loves for the wine neophytes, for his certain softness and ability to return wine to be easliy drunk. Beloved also because it appears in many blends of famous wines (Petrus in France above all, but not for all, and also some wonderful italian expressions, sucha as Camperchi and so on).
But what makes Merlot beloved even makes it, paradoxically, mistreated. Its low acidity makes it an excellent complement grape (provides smoothness and fruity aromas) but not always suited to make wines with 100% Merlot. It’s easy to make Merlot wines with no future, stillbirths, just wrong area of production and you get just and easy to drink wine without any peak of excellence. But if you’ve the patience to wander around, avoiding plantations on the plains and at sea level, something very good (to be thrifty) can be found … even in Italy.
In the beautiful panoramic proposal of the evening, we have everything … from zero to ten, even some praise. Following in strict order of (my) preference.
Chateau La Fleur de Gay – Pomerol AOC
Vintage 2001. Stratospheric nose, I went home and my nose remained there. I still have in my mind a mint fresh note, to hold off the classic scents of the grape. Alcohol a bit over the top, but incredible finesse.
Chateau Bellefont Belcier – Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classée AOC
Vintage 2009. He has played the first position for its nose, just a half step below. Distinct note of humus, black truffle above all, but also lively gunpowder. Less elegant than the previous one, but more material. In his pepper puffs he reminded me some of the Crozes-Hermitage of the Cote du Rhone.
Le Macchiole Messorio – Toscana IGT
Vintage 2011, 100% Merlot. The first of the Italians immediately presented itself with school aromas of Merlot, but not enough to tire out. It shows a good personality, dark undertone of liquorice and rhubarb. Remarkable, although not on the level of the French wines … it’s too much expensive, so I would buy the previous ones..
Maculan Crosara – Veneto IGT
Vintage 2012, 100% Merlot. More played on the fruit than his predecessors in the standing; earthy nose however, but less impact. Less sweet than others, more vegetable and mineral.
Chateau Fontbaude L’Ame de Fontbaude – AOC Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux
Vintage 2012, 80 years old wineyards. Truffle, truffle and truffle again, which looks like the festival of Alba. The rough tannins makes him lose pleasantness.
Le Macchie, Vigna il Cerqueto – Lazio IGT
If it would have been more cheaper, maybe I would have awarded it with the “best quality / price ratio of the evening prize”. Note that I still wrote “maybe”. Geranium in the glass with all its land, fresh and inviting to the next sip. A good wine for everyday.
Quercegobbe, Petra – Toscana IGT
Vintage 2012, 100% Merlot. In this glass return land and truffle, some would define it ‘gasoline’. Already seems tired, it began a steep descent
Beringer, Merlot Founders Estate – Napa Valley
More mouth than nose, it lacks of peaks, personality. We’re far …
Planeta, Sito dell’Ulmo – Sicilia IGT
Dante Alighieri said: “Non ti curar di loro ma guarda e passa …”. Niente da fare. Let’s focus on with wines?
Finally: I come back home with the idea that Merlot, after a while, however tires out. It leaves your mouth not clean, not ready. If I had stopped after the first two …