Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Clos Du Val Merlot 2006

Even before the movie Sideways  did a cinematic hatchet job on California Merlot it had almost disappeared from my thoughts.  The wine had become a standard bearer along with Chardonnay for mass marketed, soulless, overblown wines. 

For some reason last weekend I decided to try the varietal again and a bottle of the 2006 Clos du Val Napa Valley Merlot made its way into the shopping cart.  The wine is only 77% Merlot, with 16% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7 % Cabernet Franc blended in for good measure. 

There was a rib steak fresh off the grill when the cork came out of the wine.  Dark fruit, maybe a red plum or two, and soft oak aromas were in the nose.  The color was more medium and not inky black.  The taste was a nice play between some cassis and some red cherries with some warm spice and a little bit of earth mixed in for good measure.  Very good acid in this red wine and some soft tannin to give it a little structure.  Nice mouth feel, since it wasn't heavy or overbearing.  There was some good length to the finish.  It was a more than acceptable match for the steak as it was almost refreshing to take a sip of the wine after a bite of the meat.  The higher than expected acid was a big plus here.

We stoppered the bottle and put half away for two day.  There was a small veal, loin roast that was pan seared, then finished in the oven.  The veal was sauced with a mushroom broth, stock, mustard, Worcestershire sauce with a few other ingredients thrown in to the mix.    The Clos du Val had lost any sharp edges it had and had settled down to a mellow, flavorful, balanced friend to the veal.

This wine won't blow anyone away but for $19 it's a more than acceptable table wine with some character to it.  It doesn't taste like California Merlot.  13.5% alcohol.

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