Background: Vina Indomita makes an entire line of value-priced Chilean wines, called "Cantus". The Cantus Merlot - like the rest of the Cantus reds except for pinot noir - hails from the well-regarded Maipo Valley region of Chile. I tasted the Cantus Pinot Noir twice, giving it three stars out of five and thus earning it a "best value" tag at its low price point, so I'm reasonably enthusiastic about the merlot. This is especially so given merlot's higher recognition in Chile. But let's see what the wine holds...
In the glass, Cantus Merlot is deep, dark ruby red. Aromas are bold indeed: deep, roasty, sweet red berries, fragrant inside of helium balloon, touch of purple ink - yummy overall.
On the sip, the mid-palate is struck first with a sleek, lightly mineral rush of brightish red fruit. Like red currant and perhaps strawberry on the tongue, with flavors to the red currant side. A hint of black charcoal and associated burnt "twang". The 14.5 percent alcohol shows on the hot finish.
This was three or more stars from the bold aromas, but the unbalanced palate drives me back to two stars, with a plus - of course - for the exquisite aromas. This very young wine will need some serious decant time before my next sip.
Updated review, one year later, June, 2010: Color is consistent, opaque in the middle. Sweet, bright red berries on the nose, lifted and fun. Helium has subsided. Now the sweet red currant is knitting well with the soft, furry tannins and light black charcoal. Cocoa sweet red currant. With a moderate decant achieved by shaking partial bottle, this has knit together even further: brightness, cocoa, fruit, length. Gorgeous. Four stars. Crazy awesome value from Maipo Valley, Chile.
Updated review, another three years later, now six years from vintage date, October, 2013: Hint of brick at the edge of the glass now. Fun red berries on the nose. Still gorgeous, fresh, sweet red currants on the palate. Incredibly youthful.
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