Friday, June 15, 2012

Updated Review: ***+ $ Monarch Glen Merlot, California, 2007 (BEST VALUE)

Find prices and retail availability for bargain-priced California merlot.

By way of background: 

Initial review, April, 2011: This is Monarch Glen Merlot, California, 2007, vinted by Baya Cellars in Morgan Hill, CA, and finished at a very modest 12.5% alcohol.  It is a bargain offering in the Wine Insiders line, and ships as part of some of the Wine Insiders combination packages.  The "California" designation on the label tells us nothing about where the grapes originate from in this very large state!

In the glass: Monarch Glen Merlot is medium red, with some darker elements appearing in the center of the glass. 

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows shy, sweet cherry and mashed strawberry elements.  From the aroma, seems like this will be simple, fruity but likely clean in its red cherry and plum flavors.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact a somewhat deeper, more insistent mid-palate delivery of simple, but bold fruit.  Less plums and more rich blackberry.  Tannins and acids play back-up roles to the fruit, but still a nice balance overall in this mid-weight, ready-to-sip merlot.  The finish is short, straightforward, but does not cloy and is pleasingly clean and refreshing.

In summary: Overall, just touches three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, making this a best value at its entry-level price.

Following long decant, six hours in wide-bottomed  decanter: The nose has gone shy, almost dissipated entirely. The palate remains rich and poignant, perfume wrapping around deep fruit.  Manages a plus on top of its three stars for this complex, pleasant balance. And even longer decant, two days kept cool in partially filled bottle:Tangy red ink on the nose.  That tangy ink becomes an element on the palate too, bringing a perfumed red berry along.  Nice.

Updated review, over a year later,  June, 2012:  Still medium burgundy in the glass.  On the nose, deep strawberry shows some oxidization.  The palate remains rich and round.  It is at its peak, just leaning over into middle-age.   Still solid and tasty, however.

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Find prices and retail availability for bargain-priced California merlot.

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