Tuesday, March 12, 2013

RH Phillips 2001 Toasted Head Merlot (California)

Earlier this week I posted a piece for Ottawa Life about California Merlot which garnered a short conversation on Facebook between someone who loves Merlot and someone who finds it to be a vile weed (but a good blending grape).  I would have to say that lately I have tasted quite a few really good Merlots made in Ontario from the 2010 vintage - but that really has nothing to do with this wine.  I was prompted to dig a little deeper in the cellar to see what I could find in the Merlot department with a little age on it.  My last foray into aged Merlot was not a happy one - so I was hoping for better this time.  Not sure whether the Toasted Head was meant to age but I will say it didn't do too badly.  At first the nose was that of dried blackberries, smoke and anise ... the flavours is where it played a little game of possum at first: smoked/dried herbs and dark berries with a toast of earthiness ... it then became more defined with smoked-dried cherry and cinnamon, herbal while it continued to smooth out ... cheeking out the glass as I swirled the wine I noticed quite a bit of sediment coating the glass ... I also found that as it sat in the glass it developed more spice character but never lost that smoky/dried cherry quality - and that was a good thing.  And a very good thing for a twelve year old Merlot.

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