This wine we picked up from Blenheim vineyards in the Charlottesville area, owned by none other than Dave Matthews (yes, THE Dave Matthews).
First, we adored the winery. The tasting room wasn't really big, but beautifully constructed with natural wood with hand joining, overlooking one of the best sights we saw on our whole tour of ten Charlottesville vineyards. The service there was outstanding, our wine server was knowledgeable and subtle, allowing us to taste on our own, and immediately at hand with the next wine when our glasses were empty.
The seven oaks merlot impressed me enough to buy a bottle for later tasting, and here we are. The initial nose on this makes me think of lamb and marjoram, very earthy and herbal. My first taste I got butter, and nice round berries, but not so young tasting that it is almost sweet. Great balance of acid, with mineral on the finish, and a silky mouthfeel. This is not decanted, that's coming later. The flavor is like a good houseguest, lingering just long enough, but not overstaying it's welcome, and leaving a clean palate behind. The color is typical of merlot, nice dark red, a little bit of purple.
I'm enjoying this with a leftover steak, garlic mashed potatoes and Italian pasta salad (yes, that's a lot of carbs, but these are leftovers and I didn't eat lunch).
The longer the wine is in the glass, more mineral and oak emerge, with a little more pronounced tannins. On the nose I get a very slight floral note I'm having trouble placing. Maybe iris? And a teeeeny bit of maple syrup.
And now: Decanted.
Initial nose is the same, marjoram and lamb. First taste renders good tannins, leaving my mouth a little dry, but definitely wanting more. Berries are still there, but not as pronounced, this wine decanted tastes more like you'd expect a standard merlot to taste, still with the houseguest finish. The longer it is out, the more it mellows, more oak and again, more mineral. Overall, very lovely, reliable wine, would be good to cook with or to enjoy with something with toasted nuts. Buy this again!
Very nice, accessible wine. Strawberry and brown sugar/molasses on the nose. Moderate tannins, not overpowering, with a smooth finish. Drank it with a steak topped with Gorgonzola, rich mashed potatoes and asparagus. Would be fabulous with a dark chocolate.
The wine of the month for April was a 2008 merlot from White Hall vineyards. It looks and smells like a standard merlot, with a lot of berry on the nose. After pouring, I found a lot of acetone on the nose. The flavor doesn't have the depth I'd expect of a merlot, very nice but with a quick finish. It has nicely balanced tannins though, not overpowering like a lot of merlots. I think this would be best mixed with a stronger wine that needs to be balanced out, like Williamsburg Winery's Settler's Spiced Wine.
Not bad overall, but lacking the depth I needed with my steak.
Saw on a friend's post that she was going to a wine tasting in Vegas for a wine grown in the volcanic ash on Mount Etna, in Sicily. Well, needing no further encouragement, I did some research and found one of what seems like several wineries there, called Terra Nera. Now I'm intrigued. I can get it online to get shipped to me, but should I?
Maybe I'll check Total Wine first. I really want to try this, apparently it's very good.
More to follow upon capture of said species of wine.
In similar news, I'm going to a Virginia Wine Expo in Richmond this weekend- very much looking forward to it. $35 gets me a wine tasting at more than 30-ish booths, all of Virginia Wineries- except one of my favorites, Chateau O'Brien. Boo, they should be there, their wine is much nicer than Naked Mountain's, and they will be there. Boo, I say!