Blended wine morphs between flavors

Photo by Heather Hamilton
Photo by Heather Hamilton

Bitter is the name of the game with Claar Cellars Cabernet-Merlot fusion wine.

This particular wine is made with a 60 percent helping of cabernet sauvignon and 40 percent merlot. Depending on the vintage and brand, these aren’t always the sweetest wines, but somehow the Claar Cellars blend of the two manages to be extra bitter.

The smell is potent, more than it should be for only being 13.8 percent alcohol, but there is an undertone of something both fruity and earthy that can’t be identified.

The first sip of wine almost tastes sweet when chilled, but the flavor is immediately overturned by a dull, earthy bitterness with a slight sour bite. There is no initial illusion if the wine is not chilled.

The cabernet-merlot slowly becomes more sweet and fruity as it sits on the tongue but does so alongside the bitterness. It’s the rich, earthy taste that shifts flavors, but not very much. Both the sweet and bitter qualities linger together in a harmonic imbalance of flavors at the back of the mouth. Once the sip is finished, the aftertaste is just the same.

The wine’s taste interestingly seems to shift the more it is consumed. By the bottom of the glass, the sweetness becomes much more apparent and works more fluidly with the slightly sour bitterness that overpowers it at the first few sips. It becomes much more enjoyable as time goes by, but the overall flavor development isn’t entirely appealing.

Claar Cellars Cabernet-Merlot isn’t the best wine, but for those who prefer their drinks on the stiffer side, it could be a contender.

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Wine: Claar Cellars Cabernet-Merlot

Winery: Claar Cellars

Year: 2009

ABV: 13.8 percent

Rating: 3