Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Habari Gani, Happy Holidays, and to cover all the bases, Seasons Greetings! As the countdown to the final frenzy accelerates exponentially, Kathy and I are going to take a deep breath and chill out. We got some great health-related news yesterday, and everything really is looking “merry and bright”.
We do have some wine to talk about, however. Our new GCV 2017 Merlot was released this week, and completes the transition of all our reds to black labels. Now it’s easy to distinguish what’s in the bottle by the label. Whites and sweets have a white label, reds a black, and the Rosé a black with silver lettering.
First, let’s revisit the origins of this very “noble” grape. Merlot was spawned in the late 17th or early 18th century (no one is exactly sure when) from a frisky relationship between Cabernet Franc and a loose-clustered harlot (feigning royalty) named Magdeleine Noires des Charentes.
The ’17 is a lovely old-world style Merlot (it doesn’t punch us in the nose like some of those California monsters), and shows graceful complexities that yield an easy-to-drink, very food friendly wine. Zee Texas Merlot is 87.5% Merlot and 12.5% Malbec, with an ABV of 13.5%.
The color is medium garnet with moderate extraction and a clean rim. Primary aromas of red plum, cherry, raspberry, and blueberry are enhanced by subtle hints of cedar, cinnamon, caramel, and toffee. The aroma and flavor ripens and gains intricacy after 30-40 minutes in the glass.
Soft and supple on the palate, the ’17 is medium bodied with playful acidity and soft oak and tannins that are well-integrated with the fruit. The fruitiness lingers in a deceptively long finish that beckons sip after sip. Let’s serve this around 60*, and pair it with a roasted pork loin finished with a rich mushroom and caramelized onion gravy.
Now, back to Christmas. We all love to give and receive gifts, but the spirit of buying and selling too often supersedes the greatest gifts we can give. This holiday season, let’s all try to open our hearts and share boundless love and kindness towards all living things (including our planet) while we cherish the precious diversity of life.