Thursday, July 26, 2012

Spirit of Wine Review & Rating: **** $$ Teatown Cellars Merlot, Napa, California, 2006 (BEST VALUE)

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Initial review, by way of background, April, 2011: This is Teatown Cellars Merlot, Napa, California, 2006, finished at 14.9% alcohol.  It is said to be modeled after wines from the Right Bank of the Garonne River in Bordeaux, France.  Let's see what it has on offer...

In the glass: Deep, dark magenta, opaque from about an inch in from the glass edge.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows extremely soft, velvety tones of milk chocolate and pepper.  From the aroma, seems like this will be yielding, sweet and creamy.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact a full and quite classic merlot fruit on the mid-palate.  Yes, this is soft, but with seriously supportive alcohol and acids, and enough tannins for you to know there is a backbone there to the blackcurrant fruit.  The tannins flow into the later parts of the sip, bringing sweet cocoa powder into your cheeks to lodge for a long, clean and warming finish. 

In summary: Overall, rates four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  With food, it will want to cut its way through some serious fat, or meaty pasta.  Given the solid score, a best value at a modest price point.

Following long decant, a full day kept cool in partially filled bottle:  Teatown Cellars Merlot has held up extremely well on the nose, with perhaps a very slight shift towards semi-sweet chocolate and cayenne pepper.  Even more red berry flavor now on the mid-palate, with the same overall mouthfeel, and layered finish. And even longer decant, another full day kept cool in a quite empty bottle:  The nose is starting to take on what, for me, is an exquisite aroma... the aroma of Play-Doh.  Quite bold too. Exciting.  On the palate, a slightly more subdued red berry flavor continues coming through, still nicely balanced.  Held up very well to the decanting.

Updated review, over a year later,  July, 2012:  Consistent color and the same invigorating, rich aroma, incorporating a touch of eucalyptus.  The menthol aromatics come across even stronger now on the palate.  Sweet pepper, red fruit and milk chocolate remain in view as well.  Still a compelling wine at a great price point.

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