Esser Vineyards Merlot 2009

We don’t drink Merlot very often, and it isn’t because of the comments made in the movie Sideways. We just haven’t gotten around to appreciating what it brings to the table (or glass for that matter). This was a bit of a fluke purchase by my wife and I’m glad we stumbled upon it.

I am really bad for purchasing wine before I read the vintage. I’ve brought bottles home only to read they are from ten years ago. One time in particular this didn’t turn out well for upon opening the bottle we realized we had just bought a bottle of vinegar! The majority of the time vintages don’t matter because most wine is consumed young with little aging. We have not delved deeply into trying different vintages simply because we haven’t much choice in this area for older or varied vintages.

This bottle is a 2009 and I’m not sure why the wine store still had it but we will certainly be buying it as long as they do have this vintage. The years in the bottle has sure given it unique aromas, flavours, and a refined texture that a younger Merlot just wouldn’t have (not at this price point) All this makes this wine very drinkable.

See: This wine has a brick red colour when you first look at it (so brownish red) but has orange hues near the edges. This (from what I’ve read) is a sign that the wine has aged a bit  before opened. It had medium legs.

Smell: Chock full of wonderful aromas, very fruit forward. It has aromas of candied strawberries, raspberries, some cola, mocha, and hints of spice.

Taste: Despite being pretty fruit forward the wine tastings very smooth and in the mouth. Medium bodied with great texture. Near the back of the mouth the tannin is apparent but light that are not in any way harsh (perhaps even velvety?). There more flavours of red fruit but it all ends with a toasty caramel and baking spice finish with bits of lingering cedar. I can only assume that some of these flavours in the end are a result of the wine having aged for a bit in oak barrels but then longer than normal in the bottle (in the wine store).

Conclusion: This wine smells and tastes great considering it is around the $17/bottle price point. It isn’t the most complex wine but I’d say it is fun to drink. I’m going to be going back and buying this as long as the store has the 2009 vintage. At the same time, when they run out and buy a newer vintage it will be interesting to compare it to the older. Shhh, don’t tell the store this is a great bargain! For this I’m giving this 2009 Merlot a 8.5/10.

  • Merlot (93% Merlot, 4% Merlot and 3% Syrah)
  • USA, California, Monterey County
  • 2009 – 13.5%
  • Esser Vineyards
  • $16.75 at Chateau Wine and Spirits (Lacombe)
  • Real cork

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