Smooth merlot with a gentle kick

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASometimes simplicity is the way to go. But simplicity with a subtle kick is often much more satisfying.

Milbrandt Vineyards’s 2009 merlot is a deep reddish-purple, and at a 13.5 percent ABV, it’s also a decent hitter. The wine can be served either chilled or at room temperature, which is the traditional temperature for consumption.

The scent is musty and earthy with a hint of fruit. It reminds the nose of dark and rich-flavored berries. The tip of the first sip is light and sweet, and a hint of blueberry is mildly detectable. The flavor melds into a warmer, heavier vanilla at the middle of the tongue. Like the tip, it remains smooth and well blended.

The aftertaste is where a surprise kick of something citrus appears. While the kick is startling at first, it works well with the overall flavor of the wine. It likely comes from the tannins used in the wine, which are groupings of carbolic acid found in grape skins, seeds and stems.

This merlot pairs well with food items with richer flavors, such as desserts with a chocolate base, hearty soups and stews, as well as red meats. Though it isn’t a personal favorite, it will more than definitely serve its purpose during a nice dinner or relaxing evening.

4/5 Stars