2009 Benessere Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot

Mission Codename: Bravissima!

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Return to Benessere Vineyarrds, secure an allotment of the newest vintage of the winery’s 2009 Napa Valley Merlot, a food-fantastic Merlot that is reported to be their best in years.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Benessere Vineyarrds

Wine Subject: 2009 Napa Valley Merlot

Winemaker: Jack Stuart

Backgrounder: True wine lovers, Merlot is one of the finest wine varietals in the world. Today, Merlot continues to sell in record numbers across the US, out-pacing most other varietals. Merlot is a sincere, food-fabulous wine for serious wine drinkers. Today’s wine raises the bar for Napa Merlot, by delivering a delicious, complex, fruit-forward wine with plenty of complexity.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – The deep, ruby-hued edges of this wine catch the light and make the wine seem alive with energy. This color darkens toward the core, where the wine remains clear. After a good swirl, tall, wine-stained tears appear high on the glass – and then march steadily downward.

Smell – Lush red raspberry and softly spiced cherry jump from the glass. Just beneath are ripe blackberry, black currant, exotic spices, sweetwoods, licorice and earthy bramble.

Feel – Very soft and very supple on entry. Then, the wine slowly becomes more firm and mouth-filling. Medium grained tannins add grip at the edges of the tongue. A soft dryness spreads rearward, introducing soft spice and a hint of toasty oak as it moves. Balanced acidity is supported by a touch of flinty minerality.

Taste – Red fruit takes the lead here, with sweet cherry, smoky cranberry and dark raspberry. These primary flavor is followed, soon after, by black cherry and sweet blackberry, with more subtle flavors of tobacco leaf, dried leaves, spice and a soft hint of black pepper.

Finish – Long and juicy, with lingering flavors of cherry, black cherry and cranberry and soft spice. Medium tannins and balanced acidity provide great backbone as flavors tail off very slowly. At the very end, flint and black pepper persist for a little while after the fruit flavors diminish.

Conclusion – Today’s 2009 Benessere Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot really is a fantastic representation of this great varietal. Few wines are better for flexible food-pairing, and today’s really shines a food-friendly companion. We paired ours with a spice-rubbed lamb shank and the wine really shined. Juicy red fruit and a juicy acidity we just right for a quick cleanse of the palate, between bites. If you love great Merlot, today’s is certain to offer you great pleasure. Benessere specializes in Italian varietals, and while Merlot is not Italian, per se, it is the 5th most planted wine grape in Italy. Benessere certainly builds their wines as accompaniment to a great meal. Taste their expertise with this special offering.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Benessere Vineyards winery can be seen in this satellite photo.

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