Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sinskey Merlot

Robert Sinskey Vineyards
Los Carneros

Napa, California, USA
$23.99 -- Spec's, Austin, TX

Color: Medium garnet
Nose: Violets, raspberry, vanilla
Body: Medium
Front: Cassis, pomegranate, cardamom
Middle: Fennel, roasted fig, bitter chocolate
Back: Espresso, a hint of greenness, like kiwi
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

As is probably obvious from the stacked flavor description above, I adore this wine. This is, to my young and inexperienced mind, what Merlot is all about. It's different from, if perhaps inspired by, some Bordeaux classics, the Merlot-heavy ones, that I also like. But it has structure and complexity; the latter exhibited in a mixture on the palate that eludes clear description but that's a mashup of the tastes listed above, and a few more, too. I didn't decant this one, but let it unwind slowly out of the bottle.

Sinskey uses organically grown grapes to make this wine, and all of their wines (I confess to having spent an hour, perhaps more, at the winery) are subtle and complex. Okay, the cardamom taste is subtle, but really, how do you make any kind of cardamom taste out of grapes or oak? Not to say that this kind of alchemy is the foundation, origin, or soul of winemaking--probably, like all aesthetic endeavors, there's no foundation per se. But it's enchanting, that's for sure. Go out and buy a bunch of this, and then send me some.