Monday, July 13, 2009

The Devil is in the Details

If you were to judge this wine by its label (which I never, ever do...ever), you wouldn't be faulted for instantly thinking about the generic products in the supermarket or on television with their austere black and white labels marked "Beer" or "Rice". No, it looks like someone booted Microsoft Publisher and got all minimalist on the oenophiles of the world. However, to say the Velvet Devil Merlot is generic or minimalist is to do it a great disservice.

Vinted and bottled by Charles Smith Wines (I guess it's a tad less generic than John Smith Wines, although he is anything but), this Columbia Valley Merlot pours a nice, deep ruby red in the glass and has a rich nose of spice, plums, smoke and cocoa. I must say, however, my first sip or two were not favorable. The tannins were a bit overwhelming and masked and overpowered the flavors I should have been tasting - I chalk this up to mixing poorly with the acidity of the tomato sauce on the pizza we were enjoying and maybe not breathing enough. But, with subsequent sips, I found the "velvet" in the name was more than accurate and not misrepresentation. It was bold and proved to be very smooth and robust - I could taste the plums and a hint of cedar with every mouthful. After a rather underwhelming start, this wine really did come through and, you know what? We are all the better for it.

Mrs. Big Dubya picked up this particular bottle (as well as the Kung Fu Girl Riesling) at bin ends for about $12. I suggest you go grab a bottle or two. As they say, "The Devil you know..."

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