gotham “McLaren Vale” merlot review

26 06 2010

Today we review another big red from Australia, which can be had for $15 a bottle. 

Bottom line:  Does not taste like merlot and too sweet for yours truly.  Not recommended.

This 2008 merlot from Australia’s McLaren Vale (or valley) was recommended by a wine expert I have a lot of  respect for.   It has 14.9% alcohol, so you know it’s serious.  However, it also has a very non-merlot taste to it.  So it’s seriously “something”, but I’m not sure what.  The expert said that it tastes like old vine zinfandel.  

As for whether it’s enjoyable to drink, to me, it’s very heavy, very sweet, and doesn’t have enough complexity, tannins, spice, etc. to balance the sugar load.   Its primary flavor struck me as powerful and unusual for any wine, and I couldn’t put my finger on what it tasted like.  What WAS this mystery flavor? 

To be fair, I know two  people who enjoy this rusty red.  They call it fruit-forward, big, “on the sweet side,”  jammy, and a “jelly jar.”  Hmmm… jelly jar…  maybe that mystery flavor was a sort of alcohol-heavy orange marmalade.  Whatever it was, this wine just didn’t work for me.   

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