Saturday, June 9, 2012

Updated Review: ***+ $$ River's End Vintners Reserve Merlot, California, 2007

Find prices and retail availability for bargain California merlot.

By way of background:  This is another offering from Wine Insiders.  For many of these wines, when purchased at bargain prices, I've found nicely valued wines of uncertain lineage, generally with a broad appelation - think "California".   Nonetheless, some good values and pleasant wines.  Nothing that tips the charts, but mostly pleasant stuff - think 2+ to 3 stars on the Spirit of Wine scale.  Let's see what this merlot shows.

Initial review : This is River's End Vintners Reserve Merlot, California, 2007, finished at 13.2% alcohol.  Once again, don't let the "Reserve" indication throw you, it is a meaningless designator in California, unless another wine exists with the same name and without the "Reserve".   Also despite the label saying this is "River's End Vintners", it was vinted by Zunio in Morgan Hill, California.

In the glass: River's End Merlot is a deep magenta, moving to opaque about an inch in from the edge of the glass.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows funky and bold tiny red berry nose.  Maybe you were mashing pomegranates and strawberries right by the swamp.  I gotta say that it's interesting, though.  From the aroma, seems like this will be sweet, bright, light, fruity and tangy.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact quite as the nose suggests: sweet strawberries, with elements of plum, blackberry and very light oak.  It is clean, simple and sweet on your palate, and nudges up into your cheeks with a brighter acid finish.  Does finish clean too.

Following long decant: A full day kept cool in partially-filled bottle... Same interesting red-swampy nose.  The palate remains fairly simple, but is nicely woven. A pleasant, light fruity red with layers in the flavors, although simple in the mouthfeel and finish.

In summary: Overall, a simple, light but flavorful red experience that just touches three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.

Updated review, over a year later, June, 2012:   Still shows magenta highlights at the edge of the glass with a red berry nose.  On the palate, sweet red berry and strawberry fill your mouth as gentle tannins sweep for a lengthy clean finish.  Fully warrants its three-star status with the additional time in bottle.

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Find prices and retail availability for bargain California merlot.

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