Sometimes I find myself doing exactly what I don’t like my guests to do, telling myself I won’t like ________ wine because I don’t typically care for ________ grape(s). That was definitely the case this past week when I was tasting wines with Lyndsay from Silver Oak winery in California.
We took our seats and Lyndsay handed me the tasting sheet with wines that we were going to go through that day. The first thing I saw was the 2012 Twomey Merlot and I remember thinking that is was going to be your typical California Merlot, overly fruity and simply unattractive (for my palate anyway). I almost told her that we could skip the Merlot because I’m just not interested in it. Then I realized how thoughtless and rude that would be so I kept my feelings to myself and we began the tasting.
First up was the 2015 Twomey Sauvignon Blanc. The winemaker, Erin Miller, took a Sancerrean approach to the wine-essentially meaning the wine spends some time aging in French oak barrels (among other things but that is just too much technical information for this blog). The French oak helps round out the wine in addition to giving it a creamier mouthfeel. I particularly liked the high acidity and stone fruits the wine had to offer instead of the overly grapefruit/grassiness that so many Sauvignon Blanc’s bring to the table. I highly recommend you check this wine out for yourself, well worth the money!
Next up were two Pinot Noir’s: the first being a 2013 from the Russian River Valley and the second was a 2013 Bien Nacido (single vineyard) located within the Santa Maria Valley. The R.R.V. Pinot showed more minerality and meaty characteristics with hints of mushroom and plums where the Bien Nacido was full of candied red fruits, licorice and generally more lean.
Then it was time to taste the 2012 Merlot from Napa Valley that I was so hesitant about. The bottle alone presented itself with a sense of elegance so I was hoping it would deliver and man-oh-man did it ever! It was dark and inky with aromas of over ripened black fruits, cloves and dark chocolate notes that filled my glass when I swirled it. Upon tasting it the nose and palate matched up beautifully with silky tannins that brought out the elegance in the wine. I was pleasantly surprised! I remember thinking to myself, this is a wine that would be fun to put on our list without mentioning the grape because guests would be more willing to taste it, and be blown away by it just like I was. Then, and only then would I revile that it is in fact a Merlot. It would be so fun to watch the guests reaction!
I enjoyed all the wines we tasted that day but the Merlot was definitely my favorite. So just remember, never judge a book by cover. Keep an open mind because you just might discover something new when you least expect it.
I would just like to say thank you for following me on my journey to become a Master Sommelier, it means so much to have your support. Please be sure to leave a comment and subscribe to my blog so you can stay up to date on all of my latest adventures!