I have never been a great lover of Merlot – there I’ve said it. I can hear wine connoisseurs all over the shriek in dismay! I am aware that Merlot is one of the most popular red wines on the market; and is the third most-planted grape variety in Australia after being beaten by Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon; but the bold notes and dark, plummy characters just don’t really do it for me. Funnily enough I love Merlot blends – go figure!
Anyway, why am I ranting on about my slight dislike of Merlot??? It’s because I may have become a convert – maybe. I was over at a friend’s house last night and he opened a bottle of Taltarni Merlot 2004. I’m not sure if it was because it paired so well with the meal he had prepared (which was a Prosciutto wrapped roast chicken stuffed with goat’s cheese) but I actually enjoyed it; I dare say, it was the best Merlot I have ever tried (which was obvious by the 3 glasses I had!)
I believe Taltarni’s vineyard is located in the Victorian Pyrenees wine region which is known for producing fantastic red wines, but I had no idea how much I was missing out on! There is a slight blend of Cabernet Sauvignon to this Merlot, but only 9 percent so I would say it was definitely the Merlot grape variety I was enjoying. Slightly lighter in colour than many Merlot’s I have previously tried, with soft, oakey-flavours and ripe tannins, which complimented the fruit-based palate delightfully. The flavours paired with the prosciutto and chicken amazingly and left a very subtle after taste of mocha.
This specific Taltarni red was aged in barrels for 4 years (must be where the oak-flavours come from) and has aged, like an old Katherine Hepburn, gracefully. I was absolutely gob-smacked at the pleasantness I received from this bottle of Merlot and while I would not say I’m reformed, I would definitely drink this Merlot again.