Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Winey Tasting Notes – Sniffing Out A 2008 Genesis Merlot

I will admit to being lured in once again to a special price on a bottle of wine. This time it was a sleek looking bottle of Merlot, on sale for a wallet friendly $7.99.  Hmm….under $10, usually about $18? I did need a new wine to sip on and it was the type of day just made for a Merlot – cold and blustery and I did have a roast in mind for dinner. So home it came with me.

Genesis Merlot (2008, 14.2%, Columbia Valley) is actually a division of Hogue winery, a leading wine name out in Washington State. I figured with a name like “Genesis” it would be a big, epic wine. After all, there were a LOT of epic things going on in the Book of Genesis (creation of the world, Adam and Eve, Sarah giving birth at 90 – how in the heck did she do that anyway? It was hard enough at 28.) So it was with eager anticipation that I opened the bottle, took a quick sniff, and got a noseful of jam followed by rubbing alcohol. Huh? Nah – the glass must have some kind of residue in it or something. So I switched glasses. Oh dear oh dear – there it was again. I kept trying to convince myself that it was actually a minty eucalyptus. But no, to be perfectly and rather painfully honest, it was totally astringent – just like rubbing alcohol. (And any mom who has gone through ear piercing with their 7 year old daughter  knows that smell – trust me.)
OK, even if a big part of enjoying wine depends on your first whiff of the vino, I decided that I would dismiss this rather surprising bouquet and head on to the sipping part. So I decanted it for a while longer and then proceeded on. I don’t ever actually remember not breathing as I sipped before, but this time I gave it a try. First taste was of oak. Then a little bit of earth maybe even a hint of fruit on the tail end of it all. The finish was oakey with tannins – not to the point of being puckery, but it came close. There was some nice warmth to the finish and it did last quite a while.

OK, I was trying here.  But this Merlot was just not doing it for me. True, it was a bit oakier than I usually like my wine to be…but I’ve gone oakey before and enjoyed it.  I just couldn’t warm up to it. Even pairing it with said roast didn’t seem to help too much. All I could get out of this one was tannins and wood. Not exactly what I had in mind from an epic.

Which brings me to the whole idea of the first whiff of a wine.  If your nose is truly leading the way in your wine tasting, it makes sense that this wine would not wind up on my Top 10 (or 50) list. That astringent smell just couldn’t overcome the taste, which is one of the first lessons you learn when your start tasting wine. Our sense of taste is guided by our sense of smell. The nose knows, and this time, my nose said, “No thank you.”  And my taste buds agreed.

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