Friday, February 20, 2009
Mission Hill 2001 Reserve Merlot (British Columbia)
With the scare I got when I opened my Mission Hill Shiraz I decided maybe it was time to open up the Merlot from the same year ... had I waited too long with this one too? For years I have been hearing that Merlot is the Okanagan's grape - my recent visit this past summer showed me that Merlot does indeed have quite a nice future in the Valley. I popped the cork, poured a glass and stuck my nose in. What I smelled snapped my head back - big spice and pepper notes grabbed me by the olfactory hairs and gave my head a shake; there we're also hints of cedar, cinnamon and wild blackberries. And that is precisely what I found on the palate - maybe a tad more spice and a hint more cedar than anything else, but this sure wasn't waning by any stretch of the imagination - this was no shrinking violet of a wine when it came to either the nose or palate, it still packed quite a drying wallop in the mouth. I decanted it and managed to smooth it out a bit, but it was still a big wine ... and very enjoyable. My only complaint would be the lack of fruit - maybe as it sits open a bit that will come around ... right now it's all spice, cedar and the barest hint of cassis.