Sunday, March 9, 2008

Oyster Bay Hawkes Bay Merlot, 2006

I'm a hard sell on Merlot. In fact, knowing the prestige of Chateau Petrus (100% Merlot), I'm often a bit embarrassed to admit that I generally don't like Merlot. I've tasted Petrus and, of course, would have a cellar full of it could I afford it. And I've also tasted and enjoyed excellent New World Merlots from Leonetti and Duckhorn. Most inexpensive Merlots, however, tend to have a shrill green pepper/celery component that I have a hard time swallowing...or a candied, oaky sweetness that covers it up.

With a group of four for dinner, many of whom were Merlot fans, I couldn't pass up this 2006 Oyster Bay Merlot, offered for $28/bottle on the wine list at Oakwood Bistro in Kalamazoo, MI. Glad I didn't.

Fresh scents of red berries/cherries and not even a hint of green! Fine boned but with good strength. Fortunately this wine makes no attempt to be a blockbuster, and it has good acid backbone for aging. Ripe, delicate finish. Great with rainbow trout, pork, salmon or pot roast of beef. This wine is now on my shopping list. And I'd also like to try the Oyster Bay Pinot Noir. The cool climate of Kiwi-land is good for Pinot Noir and, as I discovered, Merlot.

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