The first World Wide Wine Blogging Wednesday — New World Merlot, under $15

Welcome to the first WWWBW, in the tradition of Is My Blog Burning, this is a blogging event for folks who blog about or just like wine.

The theme for this first event was “a New World Merlot (but not from the USA) under $15.” The idea being that interested parties would select a wine, talk about it, and then post tasting notes all on the same day for the benefit of all.

My participation in this event was made difficult by the fact that I am traveling on business this week and in a fit of forgetfulness I didn’t buy my bottle ahead of time. At 6:00 PM on Monday evening, I called around to all the wine stores I knew that would a) still be open and b) might have a wine that would work. After 4 calls I was despairing.

However, I knew that in Atlanta (where I was headed to meet with my clients) there was a good wine store with lots of international values, and so in a final desperate attempt, I placed quick call to The Grape at Vinings, and within 5 minutes they were holding a bottle for me when I arrived on Tuesday evening. (Whew!).

Oddly enough, though, I got an upgrade on my way to Atlanta, and what red wine did they happen to be pouring? None other than a new world Merlot, under $15. The world has a funny way of surprising you.

So, I hereby present my tasting notes for TWO new world Merlots under $15:

2002 Morande Merlot, Rapel Valley, Chile (Courtesy of United Airlines)

Dark garnet in the glass, this wine has a meaty nose of bell peppers, black olives and overripe black plums. In the mouth it is heavy with oak and a little over-laden with flavors of smoke, plum and black cherry which give way to a slight hint of black olive on the finish.

On my 10 point scale, this wine rates about a 7. I did not get a picture of the bottle, but heck, I wouldn’t recommend you go looking for it anyway. If you did it would cost you around seven bucks.

2002 Trevor Mast “Four Sisters” Merlot, South Eastern Australia

Here’s the official line on this wine:

Four Sisters is the creation of Trevor Mast, owner and winemaker at Mount Langi Ghiran, world famous for its Langi Shiraz. One year his four daughters created the wine label design as a birthday surprise. Produced with the help of the eldest daughter Daliah, a graphic designer, the label depicts each one of the sisters ” from the left they are Sophie, Anja, Daliah and Ineke.

Delighted with the label mock up and his daughters’ plans for a wine aptly named Four Sisters, Trevor initially crafted a small production wine from the vineyard growing behind the family home. However, with the positive response from all who tried the wine and heard the original story behind it, Four Sisters is now a successful brand with a range of four classic Australian varieties.

After the fruit is crushed and destemmed fermentation occurs between 20°-25°C for 7-10 days. The wine is matured in oak for twelve months using a mixture of century old large oak vessels and smaller new oak barrels. Cold stabilization occurs before bottling.

The fruit selected for this wine is the finest available from preferred vineyard sites throughout South Eastern Australia. The nose and palate exhibit intense flavors of cherries and spice whilst the finish is long and flavorsome.

My tasting notes are as follows:
This wine is garnet colored in the glass with a rather weak nose of cooking spices and just the barest whiff of fruit. In the mouth it has a nice beginning with flavors of black cherry and plum, but as it progresses through the palate it gains a green, twiggy flavor and finishes a bit hot with alcohol.

Overall score: 7.5

How much?: $12.99

While I wouldn’t expressly recommend it, you can doubtless find it for sale online somewhere, or if you happen to be in Atlanta, you can always stop by The Grape.

So there you have it. My entry to the first WWWBW. While it was dicey to start, and the wine I ended up with wasn’t great, I look forward to seeing what other people come up with.