Santa Cruz, Chile
$21.99 -- Grape Vine Market, Austin, TX
Color: Deep garnet
Nose: Coffee, blueberry, sage
Body: Medium to full
Front: Dried cherries
Middle: Spicy raspberry bacon, sautéed button mushrooms
Back: Acorns, tingly tannins, licorice
Burns clean?: Mostly
The first Cuvee Alexandre I had was in the Palmer House hotel in Chicago. It was the Cabernet, and I really enjoyed it. It was luscious but well-balanced, a nice complement to the luscious (though admittedly a little baroque) main lobby of that hotel (pictured here).
The Merlot has the same general profile: big, fruity and spicy, but with a strong earthy component that balances out the oak and the fruit. It has grip and would go well with many different kinds of food. It's only been open a half hour, so I can't be sure this effect is consistent, but the tannins are fascinating--like pop rocks, a little bit, fine but crumbly, lending a nice brightness to the texture.
And bacon will almost always win me over.