Monday, January 24, 2011


Maddalena Merlot

I had a little time to burn while waiting for a movie to begin at The Grove in Los Angeles, so I ambled over to the adjacent Farmers Market to have a glass of wine at the bar.  I could have gone to any of several enocentric restaurants at The Grove for a glass of vino, but the bar at the Farmers Market always attracts me.

I don’t even know its name - if it actually has a name.  There’s no mistaking it, though.  It’s the bar in the middle of the Farmers Market - not quite outdoors but not quite in - where accents from all over the world always seem to be enthralled in debate over a televised soccer match.  There always seems to be a soccer match on when I visit this bar, no matter what time it is.

The bar is actually more of a beer drinker’s haven, with plenty of good brews on tap and decent pitcher prices.  Get your food from any of the countless eateries in the Farmers Market and settle in at a table near the bar for a good time any time.

The wine scene at the Farmers Market bar is a little more limited, but it does offer some interesting choices on a rotating basis that change with great frequency.  It’s either that, or I just don’t get there as often as I think I do.

The ‘06 Maddalena Merlot is produced by the Los Angeles winemaking Riboli family.  They produce wine at their downtown San Antonio Winery using grapes from some of California’s best winegrowing regions.  This Merlot hails from the Paso Robles AVA in San Luis Obispo County, the Spring Creek, Cass and Batdorf vineyards.  The different vineyard lots are produced separately and aged in American oak.  The wine has a robust 14.5% alcohol content

The nose features blueberry with smoke on it.  Other dark fruit meanders through the sniff, too.  On the palate, a vegetal angle seems a little out of place.  The dark fruit I taste has a smokiness through it as well, to the detriment of the fruit.  The tannins are soft, which is rather unusual in red wines served in this bar.  Rather than coming off as simplistic, though, the wine tastes rustic.  It’s a good table wine and a pleasurable quaff.  Maddalena Merlot is poured at the Farmers Market bar at just $7 per glass - as long as it is still on the chalkboard.

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