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Monday, September 22, 2008

Hello Merlot: 2002 Joseph Phelps Merlot

 "If anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!' 'Don't ask questions like that up in wine country. They'll think you're some kind of neophyte." Miles [Sideways]

Remember this now famous or infamous [depends on your prospective I assume] quote from the character; Miles in the movie Sideways and how his long cherished bottle he was waiting to drink actually contained Merlot. Slurping down a bottle Merlot last night, reminded me of Miles aversion to Merlot and subsequent revelation that he would not be drinking any Merlot that night and how he threatened to leave if someone actually had the temerity to order it. 

Thinking about that scene a moment; it stands out as a good reminder of how foolish some folks can be, to be bullied by into not doing something [like not drinking Merlot], by a scene from a movie. Personally I don't have anything against Merlot, in fact I actually like it quite a bit, but I prefer its right-bank style, and sadly at the moment I don't too many sitting in my cellar.

Now that said, just last night when I was considering which wine to have with Tri-Tip Medallions, a cremini mushroom gravy, creamy mashed red potato and freshly steamed broccoli crowns. I thought to myself, this meal cries out for some f-----g Merlot!!
So off to my cellar I go, [read that; vino-temp making like the proverbial gorilla in the room] and I know there's one bottle of Merlot I've been looking forward to uncorking this bottle. So ah-ha there it's the Joseph Phelps, Napa Valley, vintage 2002, 14.5% abv which a generous friend gave us last year. 

This wine had a tight beam of fruit on the front palate and a long consistent finish. This is a wine of structure, balance and beauty wrapped in a crimson package. The aromas escaping easily from the glass, spoke immediately of promised elegance, just waiting to be unwrapped.

So any way WS gave this wine 91 points, which I think is a fair score. But it's not the score I gave it. This wine is drinking marvelously right now; but a bit of time in the decanter an hour before dinner proved a smart move.  

If you have any hanging around or spot a bottle for less than forty on the shelf, do yourself a favor and grab a couple, you'll be glad you did. If you want the pairing recipe, let me know and I will zip it over to you via email. As you may have gathered by now; I am the Head Chef and bottle washer around here [Chez Vino] as well as self appointed wine-reviewer.  

Now unto the scoring portion of this review, I gave this wine 87 points. It didn't blow my hair back, but Mrs. Cuvee and I still finished the bottle none-the-less.  This wine sells for $40 most places, but if you going to blow that kind of cheddar on a wine, you may want to jump into their Cabernet Sauvignon.  It has a similar label to the Merlot, but unlike the Merlot, the Cab. is a blend sporting a small percentage of Merlot. That said, it's definitely a wine which earned them a very nice reputation. Until next time folks, sip long and prosper cheers!

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