Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Updated Review: ***** $$ Rockledge Vineyards "The Rocks" Merlot, Napa, CA, 2008 = BEST VALUE

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Initial review, by way of background, January, 2011: This is Rockledge Vineyards "The Rocks" Merlot, Napa, CA, 2008, finished at 14.7% alcohol.  I absolutely loved the 2006 version of Rockledge "The Rocks" Cabernet Sauvignon, so I've been looking forward to sampling the merlot. 

In the glass: The Rocks Merlot is deep magenta, brick at the edge and opaque in the middle of the glass.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this Napa merlot shows a rich, full fruit, lifted high with the alcohol and dusted with some dark oak.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are an interesting deep fruit and charcoal touch on the top of your palate, resolving to a sleek, balanced sip in the middle of your mouth.  Some cocoa surrounds the black cherry fruit.  The finish settles modestly, mostly sleek in the black cherry region.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  There is a plus for its further potential with some air and age.

Following long decant, one full day kept cool in a partially filled bottle:   The nose is still a classic, sturdy oaked merlot.  The palate notes move to the middle and back, now, with the cocoa becoming a more silty tannin yielding dark chocolate.  Nice. And the fact that pleasant tannins move forward with a bit of air are quite promising for additional bottle age, and just enough to nudge this ahead to four stars.  Though not a value-priced wine, this becomes a best value nonetheless.

Updated review, over a year later,  May, 2012:  Deep, full, rich, inky on the nose.  Yum.  The palate brings rich dark cherry and cocoa powder in waves with solid tannins and rich robes layering your mouth.  Full, fruity, clean, structured - all that with a lengthy finish that carries cocoa and sweet heat almost forever.  Reaches five stars and touches best value status.  Both cabernet sauvignon and merlot from Rockledge's The Rocks lines are awesome offerings! Following long decant, three full days kept cool in partially filled bottle: Consistent nose and soft milk chocolate palate.  Held up extraordinarily well.

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