Looking for another amazing red to enjoy on these chilly spring evenings? Look no further than the 2017 Vintners Select Merlot from Clovis Point in Jamesport. While listed as a single varietal, it is actually another Bordeaux-style blend with 80% merlot, 8% cabernet sauvignon, 6% cabernet Franc, 5% malbec and 1% petit verdot.
Winemaker John Leo says, “The smooth, plush feel of merlot benefits from the structure of cab sauv, the forward plumpness of cab Franc, the mouth-filling roundness of malbec and the verve of petit verdot. Together, the blend is a composition of elegance and depth.”
He adds, “My goal in crafting Clovis Point wines is to first make wines that I and the Clovis owners are happy to drink and proud to serve. We agree that we won’t bottle a wine that we don’t find satisfying to drink ourselves.”
With this wine, he far surpassed that goal. The nose is resplendent with cherry and coffee. This dry, medium-bodied, wine is earthy with lovely notes of bittersweet chocolate. The fresh cherry finish is long and persistent.
A wine buyer might wonder how something labeled as a merlot can still be a blend. Quick wine tutorial: Here in the United States, for the most part, a wine needs to be 75% of a varietal to be labeled as that single varietal. There are rare exceptions like the state of Oregon, where their most widely grown grapes, such as pinot noir, (which Oregon is famous for), pinot gris, chardonnay and pinot blanc need to be at 90%. This is called varietal labeling.
In Old World wines, most labeling is done by region and referred to as regionally labeled. The reason regional labeling is done in Old World wines is twofold:
First, Old World wines are terroir-based. The goal in these wines is that you are drinking the essence of the land at a particular time, and the vine and grapes are simply the conduit through which that essence reaches your glass.
The second is that there are laws governing which grapes can be in a region’s wine. For example, if you are drinking a red Burgundy, you are drinking pinot noir. If you are drinking a red Bordeaux, you are drinking one varietal, or a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet Franc, malbec, petit verdot and — though less likely — carmenere.
The Clovis Point’s 2017 Vintners Select Merlot retails for $49.
To learn more about Clovis Point wines, visit clovispointwines.com.