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THE CHICAGO WINO | April 2016


DESERT ISLAND GRAPE What’s your desert island grape? You know the question, you’re on an island and you can only pick one grape to drink for the rest of your life. For me, hands down, it’s Merlot. The movie from 2004, Sideways, may have negatively impacted Merlot’s popularity for a short period and increased Pinot Noir’s but I have always loved Merlot. Merlot can be incredibly elegant and very versatile from being planted all around the world as well as blended with several different grapes. In fact, it is one of the world’s most planted grapes.

I was reminded of my love for Merlot when I tasted Sierra Vista El Dorado Merlot, 2010 – Mountain Ridge Reserve. Family owned and operated, the winery is on Red Rock Ridge near the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. This sexy medium-bodied Merlot had alluring aromas of blueberry compote, blackberries, New York cherries, finishing off with a hint of oak. The palate follows suit with soft tannins, juicy dark fruits, with hints of cocoa and cherry cola. From the bouquet through flavor you can detect the 6 years it aged and it did wonderfully. This is a great example of what Merlot can be as a varietal. I loved it so much, I picked up a case soon after.

So yeah, if by some highly unlikely chance I end up on a desert island all alone and there happens to be a wine fairy granting me 1 grape for the rest of my life I would chose Merlot (and of course be specific with the region and vineyard). Well, that’s my choice, what’s your desert island grape? Sláinte!

ABOUT THE WRITER Eric McMillan, The Chicago Wino, is your source for lighthearted reviews of wine. thechicagowino.com also features links to fun tools like wine/food pairing, ideal serving temperatures, and "must try" bottles! Visit thechicagowino.com for a simple look at some complex flavors. "Like" Eric on Facebook–The Chicago Wino

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