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Snooth User: edelk

Help!

Posted by edelk, Apr 23.

Hi I'm a complete beginner who would like to buy either Malbec or Merlot as a wedding present. Could you give me some help please??

Replies

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Reply by dvogler, Apr 23.

Hi,

Well, you can't really go wrong!  There are many questions I could ask, but you should go to a store near you and hopefully they can tell you which are great examples (not necessarily the most expensive!).

I'm sure the recipients will not think poorly of you for the gift of wine!  There is no right or wrong.

Darren

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Reply by gregt, Apr 24.

Yeah but depending on the store, they may just sell her some overpriced stuff that they had sitting in the sun for a year!

That's good advice EDELK, if you have a good store nearby or at least someone in the store who knows a bit about wine. Kind of hit or miss though!

Anyhow, you don't have to limit yourself to Merlot or Malbec. Those are grapes but they're often blended with others - there's no reason to buy wine by a particular grape after all. If you're looking to California, my suggestion is find a reliable producer from Napa. When you look at the bottle, it will say the wine is from California or from Napa or from Oakville or Rutherford or from their estate. Each one is more specific. So something that just says "California" can include grapes from all over and that wine is likely to be pretty cheap and pretty forgettable. If it says "Napa", at least you know that it's from an area where they can do Merlot relatively well. If it says it's from something like Rutherford or Oakville or some other spot within Napa Valley, it's likely to cost a bit more yet, but it's very likely to be a pretty good wine. Those places make nice, drinkable, plush, tasty Merlots. If the wine is from a specific vineyard, it is likely to cost even more, but it may or may not be better. 

Of course there are other regions as well, but for me, Napa does a pretty good job with Merlot. One of my favorites used to be Steltzner's Reserve. They're in the Stag's Leap district but surprisingly, the wines aren't even that expensive - somewhere in the $20s usually.

I don't know what you want to spend, but if you don't mind spending a little more, you can look at other things. Chappellet makes a really good Cab Franc for example, that will run somewhere between $50 and $100. I don't remember exactly how much, but it's really an enjoyable wine. Crocker and Starr makes a couple wines - one is Stone Place Cuvee, which I think has a lot of Merlot in it. Kind of oaky initially, but nice wine.

Or you could look in Washington - they make some really good Merlot up there. Again, prices are all over the place. But I sure wouldn't mind a nice Merlot from Washington.

Malbec isn't really planted all that much in CA or WA. It's there, but rarely bottled as a monovarietal. Those usually come from Argentina. You don't have to spend a lot to get a drinkable one. In fact, I'm not sure you get a lot more from spending $80 than you do from spending say, $25-$30.

And then of course there's Malbec from France, but good luck finding any and better luck finding one you would really like to drink. If your friends are super wine geeks I'm sure they'd love it. But if not, maybe pass for now. France is of course where Malbec came from but there's a reason it's not widely planted these days.

Good luck.

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Reply by dvogler, Apr 24.

Gregor,

Edelk lives in Ireland!  They most likely won't find much of what you were describing, but it's some good information.  They just may find that French Malbec!

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 24.

And don't diss a whole country's worth of Malbec, Greg! ;-)    Cot up in the Loire (a malbec by any other name) can be astringent if you're not accustomed, but there are versions down in Cahors, including blends, that are both approachable and solidly good. Then again there are some that are pretty austerely massive and could beat a passel of Mendoza's wimpier offerings into a frothy pulp.

Edelk, are there any brick and mortar wine merchants in your neighborhood that you are able to consult with? Otherwise, there are good online vendors in the UK, too. I've used three or four.

And if you're looking for merlots out of France you should be looking at chateaux from the right bank side (of the Dordogne River) in Bordeaux (St. Emilion and Pomerol are generally considered the best areas). There's also some great merlot (often in blends) coming out of Tuscany in Italy.

What is your timeframe before the wedding?

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 24.

Here are a couple of search results from one online vendor in the UK that specializes in smaller, greener, locally run vineyards:

First with a search for 'Pomerol'

Stone, Vine & Sun
  Search Results
  • Product Code: ROB110

    Château Rocher Bonregard, Pomerol, 2010

    “From a tiny holding of just 2.6 hectares, 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Attractive, deep hue. Fleshy, plum and blackcurrant attack. Appealing...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating Full Bodied Rated 4 out of 5 Light > Full
    • Origin: France
    • Region: Bordeaux
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 14%
    More Info
    1. Bottle £19.50
    2.  
    1. Case (12) £222.30
    2.  

Product Code: GOU110

Château Gouprie, Pomerol, 2010

“75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc, half in new barrels, half second fill Lifted aromas of very ripe fruit with a liqueur character: and that same...”

Stone, Vine & Sun rating Full Bodied Rated 4 out of 5 Light > Full
  • Origin: France
  • Region: Bordeaux
  • Colour: Red
  • Bottle Size: 75cl
  • ABV: 14%
More Info
  1. Bottle £28.50
  2.  
  1. Case (12) £324.90
  2.  

 

 

Then with a search for 'merlot'

  • Product Code: RIO313

    Rio Alto, Merlot, Aconcagua, 2013

    “We chose this Merlot blind in a line-up of similarly priced examples as we believed it offered more substance and character than most well-priced...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating Medium Bodied Rated 3 out of 5 Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Aconcagua
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13%
    More Info
    1. Bottle £6.50
    2.  
    1. Case (12) £74.10
    2.  
  • Product Code: GDV412

    Goedverwacht, Crane Red, Merlot, Robertson, 2012

    “Ruby tone. Scent of cooked berries and currant leaf. Always surprises for its concentration and power: bold and smooth, and delivering ripe (but not...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating Medium bodied Rated 3 out of 5 Light > Full
    • Origin: South Africa
    • Region: Robertson
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 14%
    More Info
    1. Bottle £7.25
    2.  
    1. Case (12) £82.65
    2.  
  • Product Code: VIC312

    Comtesse de Marion, Merlot, Pays d’Oc IGP, 2012

    “The Vic family’s Merlot has won huge praise and many repeat orders from satisfied customers. It’s a wine which always shows attractive typicity:...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating Light Bodied Rated 2 out of 5 Light > Full
    • Origin: France
    • Region: Languedoc
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13%
    More Info
    1. Bottle £7.50
    2.  
    1. Case (12) £85.50
    2.  
  • Product Code: SIT312

    In Situ, Vineyard Selection Merlot, Aconcagua Valley, 2012

    “The In Situ wines are from Viña San Esteban’s estate vineyards in the upper Aconcagua Valley, where 800 metres of altitude and cool downdrafts...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating Medium Bodied Rated 3 out of 5 Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Aconcagua
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 14%
    More Info
    1. Bottle £7.75
    2.  
    1. Case (12) £88.35
    2.  
  • Product Code: CRO113

    Domaine La Croix Belle, Caringole Rouge, IGP Côtes de Thongue, 2013

    “Largely from Syrah, Carignan and Merlot, and crafted to be supple and fruity - you can serve this cool in summer. Attractively open and inviting...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating Medium Bodied Rated 2 out of 5 Light > Full
    • Origin: France
    • Region: Languedoc
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13.5%
    More Info
    1. Bottle £8.50
    2.  
    1. Case (12) £96.90
    2.  
  • Product Code: MGL109

    Marchesi Ginori Lisci, Campordigno, Merlot, Montescudaio, 2009

    “Half is aged in large botte, and half is left in stainless steel. This includes some Sangiovese. Ruby tone.  Scents of primary red fruit and...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating Medium Bodied Rated 3 out of 5 Light > Full
    • Origin: Italy
    • Region: Tuscany
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13.5%
    More Info
    1. Bottle £9.95
    2.  
    1. Case (12) £113.43
    2.  
  • Product Code: SPO108

    Spookfontein, Merlot, Upper Hemel & Aarde Valley, 2008

    “Cedary nose. So supple and smooth, with attractive fat. Raspberries and redcurrants wrapped in smoke. Pure fruit on a long finish.”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating Medium Bodied Rated 3 out of 5 Light > Full
    • Origin: South Africa
    • Region: Hemel-en-Aarde
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13.5%
    More Info
    1. Bottle £9.50 Was £11.95
    2.  
  • Product Code: SEV109

    Seven Hills, Merlot, Columbia Valley, 2009

    “This includes 8% Cabernet Franc, and is given 18 months in oak (largely French with some American), 25% new. Such Bordeaux-like aromas: black fruit...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating Medium, Full Bodied Rated 3 out of 5 Light > Full
    • Origin: USA
    • Region: Washington
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 14.2%
    More Info
    1. Bottle £18.25
    2.  
    1. Case (12) £208.05
    2.  

Product Code: SEV308

Seven Hills, Merlot, Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley, 2008

“Largely sourced from the oldest vine blocks of the famous Seven Hills vineyard, first planted in 1981. All in French barrels, 40% new. Scent of ripe...”

Stone, Vine & Sun rating Medium Rated 3 out of 5

Light > Full

 

 

 

From another UK online vendor (Berry Bros. & Rudd--arguably the most famous wine merchant in the UK), here's one option of a blend with merlot in it from Tuscany:

2008 Caiarossa, IGT Tuscany   Compared to the sunny Sangiovese dominated blend under the Pergolaia label, the flagship Caiarossa wine is effectively a Mediterranean example produced on the Bordeaux theme. It comprises Cabernet Franc (29%), Merlot (16%), Petit Verdot (16%), Syrah (14%), Alicante (14%) and small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. A product of 100% estate grown, biodynamic and hand-picked vines, winemaker Dominique Génot works hard to harvest and vinify the many different varieties separately and in doing so achieves a better understanding of the raw materials he has at his disposal. This 2008 is ... Read More Write the first review Follow this product Share this product Prices: RetailIn Bond   2008 Caiarossa, IGT Tuscany Italy  »  Tuscany
      1 Bottle £44.95 12 Bottles £485.40(12 x £40.45) Save £54.00 Add to basket

 

 

And another example of a malbec blend from Cahors:

2011 Clos La Coutale, Cahors   Cahors has long been famous in the Englishman’s vinous canon, associated traditionally with robust even slightly rustic wines, powerful enough, at any rate, to stand up to rich local dishes such as cassoulet and sanglier. The trick with Cahors, only latterly discovered it seems, has been to tame through the vehicle of blending. In this fine art Clos La Coutale has few peers.

The blend of the 2011 is 70% Malbec (known locally as Auxerrois), the traditional grape of the region, blended with 15% Merlot which gives finesse and bouquet and 15% Tannat which gives it its ageing potential.The wine does not want for savoury spicy power, but its tannins are plush and poised and its fruit character is generous and engagingly sweet.
Simon Field MW - BBR Buyer



Show Less

Write the first review Follow this product Share this product Prices: RetailIn Bond   2011 Clos La Coutale, Cahors France  »  South West France
      1 Bottle £8.95 12 Bottles £96.60(12 x £8.05) Save £10.80 Add to basket  

 

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Reply by dvogler, Apr 24.

DM,

Yeeeaaahhhh......I'm gonna hafta get you to....go ahead and come in on the weekend.  Oh, and did you get the memo on the cover letters for the TPS Reports?

Wow..that response looked like a day at the office!  That was a gift in itself. 

 

 

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Reply by gregt, Apr 24.

Who knew she was in Ireland!

Thus, as pointed out very nicely, it's more or less useless to talk about US wines! Another "duh" moment.

So what do you guys do - look up people who join? Lotta effort laid out to respond to a post! I hope people appreciate it. It must be unique to this place - I once joined a forum somewhere else and was told to get lost.

So I'd stick with France, but in that case, don't be looking for wines by grape variety. Bordeaux from St Emillion was pretty fruity and pleasant in 2009. Lots of people hate those wines exactly for that reason, but they're nice to drink.

Malbec from Cahors or the Loire is a different story. Unless you really know the particular wine, it's more of a crapshoot. Many are old-time astringent and bitter. Some aren't, but they're an entirely different breed of wine from those Napa or St. Emillion wines and for someone new to wine wouldn't be my first suggestion, esp if it's for a gift. Imagine getting a bottle of some wine you don't know, looking forward to opening it, doing so, taking a sip and wondering WTF?

On a side note, I have a bottle of Chateau de Cayrou from 1999 sitting in my fridge right now. I got it years ago to put into a comparative tasting of Malbec from Argentina vs Cahors but it was a different vintage than the others and I don't like to mix up vintages when doing those kinds of tastings. So I never drank it. I put it right in the front of the fridge too, so I'd remind myself to drink it. Every time I pick it up and think about doing so however, I end up thinking "Nah. Do that later."

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Reply by gregt, Apr 24.

Oh, BTW, I totally forgot.

If you can get Merlot from Tuscany, get that.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 24.

In terms of cost performance, easy approachability and and appropriateness for the occasion I'd go with the Seven Hills merlot from Walla Walla first, followed by the Caiarossa Bordeaux blend from Tuscany, then the Clos La Coutale malbec blend from Cahors as a distant third. I've had all three and they are good, though the Clos La Coutale is edging into the category of an everyday drinker.

I'm curious about the Marchesi Ginori Lischi from Italy and the Spookfontein from South Africa, but haven't had them so can't speak with any specific knowledge.

 

DV, glad I don't have you for a boss!  ;-)

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Reply by dvogler, Apr 24.

Greg,

If you click on the person's name, it usually shows you a location.  I'm hardly a stalker!  I'm not even computer literate.  BTW- Get lost!   :)

DM- I hope you got the "Office Space" reference!  If not, YouTube "Bill Lumbergh"!

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Reply by gregt, Apr 25.

I just clicked your name and found out you're in BC. But I guess I knew that.

Interesting though - I've never clicked on someone to find out more about them.

BTW, think we'll see a return?

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 25.

Would hope so...  ;-)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVmC0ktznNo

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Reply by dvogler, Apr 25.

Greg,

I don't think we'll see EDELK anymore.  How about the guy who wants wine for his film parties?  Since this is the new "thread drift" spot...I saw you thought Minky is a fella.


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