Monday, June 8, 2009

Woodside Estate 'Bissy' Merlot 2006, Margaret River

A few years ago the movie ‘Sideways’ almost single headedly wiped out Merlot sales in the US with the lead character Miles stating, ‘... I’ll drink whatever they order, but I’m not drinking f*#@n Merlot’. Here to in Australia, Merlot has long suffered being the safari suit wearing cousin at a wedding (it’s a long story) to that of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Merlot’s traditional home is the right bank in Bordeaux where it is the predominant grape in uber wines like Le Pin, Petrus and Chevel Blanc. On the left bank it is Cabernet Sauvignon that is the predominat grape with wines such as Rothchilds - both Mouton and Lafite, Marguax and Lynch Bages.

Merlot is one of those grapes that are dependent on its growing environment. Long growing seasons with temperate growing conditions are optimal for its development – Margaret River, Yarra Valley and Coonawarra are the best regions here in Australia. Merlot can be very intense with blueberries and cassis being predominant in the mouth and minty or eucalyptus on the nose; similar to that of Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Woodside Estate ‘Bissy’ 2006 Merlot from Margaret River had a very thick and dense colour, something that would have spent plenty of time on skins. The nose is gorgeous with an obvious vegetal hint with eucalyptus the prime focus. As said earlier, blueberries are central here up front with lovely clean acid in the mid palate and long mocha at the end.

Give Merlot a go I reckon. There are a lot of producers out there, but it is the producers from those three regions, Margaret River, Yarra Valley and Coonawarra, that get it right. And one more thing, don’t get sucked in to a Merlot with high alcohol – 14.5% and more; these wines will not give you the true flavour that Merlot is, and all you get is JABS (Just Another Barossa Shiraz).

Drink with mushroom and beef stew
Drink till 2020

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