Did you Winos ever see that movie, Sideways? It’s about two dudes taking a road trip into wine country as a sort of bachelor party for one of them. The other is a bit of a Wino (or perhaps a Wine Know). And throughout the movie he talks about his dislike of Merlot. Because the movie had a sort of cult following, it actually did make an impact on the wine industry due to less popularity with Merlot purchases. Oh Hollywood… you ARE powerful after all.
Anyway, I admit that this Wino is just returning to Merlot drinking after seeing that film. And yes, I am embarrassed to admit that. But I’m here to say publicly that I have reopened my taste buds to Merlot and, so far, have very much enjoyed them! So today’s Divine Wine is a personal celebration of Merlot and one that I think you Winos will enjoy as well!
Divine Wine of the Week: The Velvet Devil 2009, Charles Smith Winery, Walla Walla, Washington
Price Range: $12 from the winery, $9.99 at Fry’s Food
Wino Assessment: Ok, so this will sound a little cheesy. But I swear upon trying this wine, I truly understood what it meant when someone described a wine as “velvety”. It is literally a soft smoothness to the wine that quite frankly tastes like you’re drinking liquid velvet. This wine is obviously smooth, and while it has some fruity flavors (I’d say a hint of strawberry), it also maintains a nice – but not overwhelming – dryness. I suppose the “devilish” part about this wine is that you just want to guzzle it.
You might recognize the style of this wine label due to a previous Charles Smith Divine Wine of the Week on W2WK – Kung Fu Girl Riesling. I have tried a couple of this winery’s other wines as well, and have been more than delighted by all of them! This is what Charles Smith says about The Velvet Devil:
“PURE VELVET! Milk chocolate, wild blackberry, baking spice, rose oil…beautifully perfumed Washington in a glass….Velvet Devil? HELL YEAH!”
I kinda wish all wine descriptions were as exciting as this one. Obviously, I agree – it IS pure velvet!
Merlot has a lot of tannins which gives the wine a bit of a bite (among other characteristics that give the wine “structure”). But because it is rather hearty, Merlot goes well with hearty dishes such as lamb or beef tenderloin. For my veggie Winos, try some Merlot with your next eggplant parmesan or portabello burger. You will enjoy!