Tasting Notes: Trefethen Merlot

Spoiler alert: This has recently become one of our favorite wines. It may seem counter intuitive to go ahead and tell you the conclusion before we even begin, but Kevin and I poured this wine earlier this week and we both discussed how much we liked it. It is a bottle we've had before, so after a long day, we treated ourselves to a nice wine with dinner. Instead of my typical incessant note taking and researching, I actually sat back and just enjoyed this one!

Trefethen 2012 Merlot

The Facts

Kevin and I were supposed to visit Trefethen on our trip to Napa back in September 2014, but unfortunately, it was the only winery we intended to visit that hadn't reopened after Napa's earthquake as they had structural damage to their building. It will definitely be on our list for our next trip! Although I have not heard the history first hand, their story is the start of a great family tradition. Gene and Catherine Trefethen moved to Napa Valley after Gene's retirement in the late 1960s, where they purchased over 600 acres. At this time, Napa was still recovering from Prohibition so most vineyards were in disarray.  The Trefethens wanted to sell their grape crop, but their son, John, felt differently. He at first attempted to make wine in his parents' basement using trashcans as fermentation tanks, which didn't pan out. However, a few years later in 1973, John and his wife, Janet, made Trefethen's first batch of commercial wine. Now the winery is run by John, Janet, and their two children, with the motto being "One Family, One Estate, One Passion."

Their passion definitely shows through in this wine. In my opinion, this wine is everything a Merlot should (or what I want it to) be... juicy dark fruit like blackberries and plum, a hint of mocha and spice, full-bodied and velvety. It is so dark in the glass, but doesn't drink too heavy. If tannins aren't your friend, I think this could be a good wine for you. If you love tannins, I implore you to try it anyway because I think it's damn delicious. Kevin agrees with me. We paired this with a homemade lasagna, simple arugula side salad, and garlic knots, and it was a homerun. Actually, it was a grand slam.

Rating:

Tasting Notes: Joel Gott California Grenache

The Facts

  • Producer: Joel Gott
  • Region: California
  • Vintage: None listed
  • Variety: Grenache
  • Where I purchased: Whole Foods
  • Price: I lost my receipt, but I believe it was around $14.99.
  • Eyes: This wine was a maroon color, definitely a "purple-y red". It was translucent which always makes me think it will be more subtle in flavor. I'm pretty sure that's not a fair association, but it is there nonetheless. I also noticed the legs on the wine. The legs were very pronounced which indicates a higher alcohol content. This was corroborated by looking at the bottle... it was 14.3% alcohol!
     
  • Nose: The first thing I noticed on the nose was pepper. There was a also a hint of raspberry. The last thing I noted was kind of a weird aroma... I couldn't think of exactly what to call it other than cough syrup. I know that sounds horrible, and it was definitely not my favorite aroma, but it didn't deter me from proceeding on. In fact, it made me more curious to know what it tasted like. Did it also taste like there was a hint of Robitussin?
     
  • Mouth: First, I did not taste any hint of Robitussin, which was a relief. The flavors I tasted first were vanilla and dark red fruit like raspberry and plum. I think the pepper I smelled on the nose was actually more of a smokey flavor on the tongue. There was definitely another non-fruit flavor present other than the smoke. I had to do some research on Grenache to identify what it was, and I think what I would pin it as is leather. Finally, I felt that the wine had a velvety finish despite the higher alcohol content. 
     
  • Thoughts: I enjoyed this wine and so did K. I thought the flavors were tasty and the bottle was on the less expensive end of our collection, although it is on the border of what I would pay for an every day wine. If you like medium bodied reds, I think this would be a great one to try! The medium body of the wine also lends itself to being paired with a variety food dishes, so it's a great choice for a wine with dinner. While I haven't seen this one widely available (although I haven't really looked), if I ever came across another bottle, I would definitely pick up one for a dinner party. I think it would be a crowd pleaser! 

Rating: