Thursday, September 11, 2008

2002 Ehlers Estate Merlot, Napa Valley - $25

Most Merlot I would not usually keep longer than 5 years from the date of the vintage but this wine is an exception. I bought half a case a few years ago of this exceptionally made Merlot, a rarity in California and a bastardized wine varietal of sorts because of the Sideways movie.

I opened this wine specifically to test my palate. Yesterday Lisa and I attended a California wine tasting that highlighted wines from all of the big regions: Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles, Mendocino, Carneros (half Napa and half Sonoma), Lodi, Monterrey and Santa Barbara. It was great and for only $40 we had some really good wine. The variety of wines available to taste was quite varied and in most cases friendly wine makers poured their creations for us (Gary from the Hitching Post come to mind as a favorite of ours - funny and personable). Though we both left the tasting satisfied, we felt too many of the wines were sweet, in many cases overly sweet. For a while in my past I liked the fruit forward style and still do when it's in balance, but most of these wines were not that. Many were just way too sweet. The Ehlers was a test to see if my palate 4 years ago was just picking the wine because of the abundant ripeness or that it was well made and in fact a non-fruit bomb. The test is a draw. Had I known the wine would have evolved this way I would have drunk more of it earlier, though it still retained a lot of the character from when I bought it.

Color: Garnet center with ruby edges, a tad hazy at first from the sediment
Nose: Not fruity, cedar and tobacco leaf with an appealing chocolaty mocha nose, currants.
Palate: Fine tannins frame the mocha, coffee and plum flavors abundant in this wine. Subtle notes or tobacco and spice accent the wines solid finish.


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