Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ernest and Julio Gallo 2001 Sonoma County Merlot (California)

Holy Hanna ... this is not what I expected at all from this wine. These days you hear the Gallo name and you chuckle to yourself - you think of huge conglomerate, uni-wines (wines that taste the same), and non-vintage blah blends. I opened this one on a lark, wondering how it would taste, wondering if the only 5 months in oak and 6 years in my cellar had helped or hindered this wine ... I can say categorically that it helped. There wine had quite a bit of spiciness and some tannins in the glass and on my tongue, so I decided to pull out the Merlot decanter and open her up a bit. As I did so I fully admit I did not expect to see sediment, but that is precisely what I got, so I slowed up my pour to avoid putting too much back into the decanted wine. I inspected the bottle and saw lots of floaties stuck to the bottle and plenty more (of the fine gritty variety) were found in the decanter once the wine was all served. The nose was loaded with dried blackberries and black cherries with hints of forest floor and buckwheat honey (probably from the 14% alcohol). As for the taste, awesome ... the fruit seemed a little fresher than what the nose let on and there were even nuances of chocolate. I have to admit I was not expecting much from this wine, which meant what I got was a whole lot more ... kudos to the Gallo team of 2001.

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