Monday, April 28, 2014

Cheap Merlot As A Gift Wine

Gift wines are always appreciated at chez Now And Zin, even when they don’t bring allure, cachet or a hint of potential with them.  It is, truly, the thought that counts when it comes to gift wine.  That’s why there are so many Trader Joe’s locations.

The new neighbors brought over a bottle as a gift.  While it was a wonderful gesture, the wine demonstrated that either they don’t know much about wine, or they think I don’t.  It is the thought that counts, but I write about wine in this space, not good intentions.  So, after a hearty thanks to the neighbors, it’s time to swirl, sniff and sip a wine that hits right around the four dollar mark.

ForestVille Vineyards is one of the many tentacles of the Bronco Wine Company, the grape-stained conglomerate that seems to have a different label for every batch of grapes they harvest or buy.  Owner Fred Franzia is a wealthy man, thanks to his ability to make wines that are cheap and palatable.  He thinks a bottle of wine should never cost more than ten bucks, Chuck.  And most of his wines don’t cross that Mendoza line of perceived quality.

This one, under the ForestVille banner, blends Merlot, Petite Syrah and "mixed varietals" into a wine that hits 12.5%  abv on the alcohol meter.  I don't know if  "mixed varietals" indicates a field blend, inattention, an accident or grapes that were leftover in the crusher.  I was all ready to write that ForestVille Merlot's most distinguishing wine-like feature may be that it is bottled under natural cork.  I must admit, though, that it's actually not bad.  My wife thinks it's yummy.  She's right.  Still, Miles, from Sideways, would definitely not drink this f@#$%ing Merlot.

For those seeking out "cheap and palatable" wine, this hits the nail right on the head.  It falls into the vast chasm between "OK" and "good."  The fruit is full and ripe, but not complex.  The overdone oak effect really blunts the wine's value.  Acidity and tannic structure are both nice, however.  Although there are limitations here, the wine is actually a decent value considering that, at the price point, value is generally not a consideration.


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