Friday, December 3, 2010

*** $ West Lane Merlot, California, 2009 - Wine Tasting & Review (BEST VALUE)

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Initial review, by way of background: This is West Lane Merlot, California, 2009, finished at 13.% alcohol, a value-priced offering from Wine Insiders. The winery pulls this merlot together from three unspecified California appellation vineyards.

In the glass: West Lane Merlot is medium rudy red, looking like clarified crushed red currants. 

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this Cali merlot shows a bright, light, spicy plum fruit nose, high pitched and appealing. 

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are a bright and simple mid-palate spritzy fruit tang, think Hawaiian Punch in style and tone, though with no cloying sweetness.  Few tannins to speak of, but a light, peppery acidity lifts the finish nicely into your cheeks. 

In summary: Overall, extremely light in tone for a merlot, but delicious in its expression of a light sipper, more ready for a summer salad than a winter roast.   Rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, because I would return to it for the right occasion.  That makes it a best buy at its value price.

Following long decant, stored cool in partially-filled bottle under vacuum for three days: Smoky lollipop grape cherry nose.  Palate is consistent, and the acidity has tamed, leaving mostly pepper as the final note.  Still very intriguing - SO not typical merlot! 

With an extremely long decant, one more day kept cool in partially-filled bottle without vacuum: Wow - both the nose AND the palate have held together extraordinarily well. A nice balance on the finish.  This might be a harbinger of good things to come with some additional time in bottle as well... we'll see.

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