Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wine of the day #8: Matanzas Creek Merlot 2008

Nostalgia. The lavendar, the bees, the cheese platter, the wine tasting room.
Same group of people, gather to revitalize our memory of Napa / Sonoma Valley trip.

2008 Merlot - Thick licorice driven wine. Not so much tannin and length in the wine. This is quite a straight forward easy-drinking wine. Very juicy and simple. Whoever prefers licorice will like this wine. Merlot character was not clear, perhaps to the later stage when vanilla and nutmeg are getting obvious. This goes well with sweet-sour pork and classic Canton dishes.

In fact 2007 was of a totally different flavour and texture, with only 1 vintage difference. Blending 14% of Cabernet Sauvignon from Knights Valley, the rich structure of wine is more sage and herbal than that of year 2008. This wine best matches with cow's milk cheese (Mt. Tam and Dry Jack) recommended during the wine & cheese pairing during the visit.

Should I be surprised by the flip of character between 2 vintages? Recently browsing through Les Gouttes de Lieu #37 where it says 'to summarize one word for each wine world's expression': "Terroir" / Soil is the word for France; Complexity of Sunshine and Sea represents Italy; Australia demonstrates the challenge to nature, whereas USA depicts Man's industriousness and talent.

When given the virtue from Sonoma County, Matanzas Creek vineyard owner tried hard transferring lavendar from Loire Valley; grow bees and sell honey, and test more than 12 grapes varieties to see which one goes well. I can see the great effort in trying things out, however if someone has not been there, can they tell the difference between the quick win of getting simple juicy wine to obtain market share versus talent to produce varieties of wine to sell?

Just 2 cents of thoughts: Concentrate on 1-2 variety of grape when complete with experiemental trials and work hard to give depth and aftertaste. This makes a long-lasting win to the brand.
$35 - Directly brought back from Matanza Creek Winery (2008)
$35 - Available Online (2007)

Other recommendations: 2010 Chardonnay, 2008 Journey Red.

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