Friday, November 12, 2010

A Solid, Hands-Down Winner of a Wine - And a Value To Boot

Review: 2008 The Crusher Merlot Wilson Vineyard Clarksburg

Bottom Line: Terrific example of why Merlot deserves a second look and why this company is an easy go-to for solid value and drinking pleasure. SRP is $18, but you'll likely find it for closer to $13.

The Rest Of The Story:  A couple of weeks ago we profiled Greg Kitchens, winemaker for Don Sebastiani & Sons.  It was this wine that prompted the phone call to learn more about the mind behind the consistent line up of solid values.

In a blind lineup of five reds, some far more expensive, the 2008 The Crusher Merlot emerged as a clear winner for its accessibility and universal appeal.  A Merlot?  Winner?  Yup. 

Why?  How?  Is it sophisticated?  No.  Polished?  Not really.  Incredibly high quality?  Nah.  Then what?




Sometimes a wine is just fun to drink.  This is one of those wines.  Deep, raspberry-infused color with beautiful clarity.  Slightly smoky and meaty aromas with deep, extracted fruit suggesting interesting things lurking beneath the surface.  The attack on the palate almost makes you moan.  Oh, yeah.  Soft, sultry, full bodied.  Not polished, but unapologetically seductive.  Chocolate on the pillow overtones.  Barry White-ish, baby.  Universally loveable.  Further proof that good wine comes from places other than Napa.

It's easier to celebrate this wine at $12 than it is at $18, but with pricing variability in the market these days you should be able to find it for sub-$15.  And at that price point it's a 4.5.  Drink up!

According to Greg, "This Merlot blend was 78% Merlot and 22% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Wilson Vineyard in Clarksburg. We wanted to add a solid backbone to this Merlot to really make it stand out. As you can see, some great French oak and a good slug of Cab make a big difference. Over the course of time, the Cab and Merlot seamlessly meld to make a wonderful full bodied wine with soft, friendly mouthfeel. Historically, Merlot and Cab have been planted to blend in this fashion. Winemakers and growers have done this for centuries and there is a good reason for it. Your proof is in the glass...Clarksburg is an unsung hero of an appellation in the wine industry....Our Crusher line is a tribute to the growers of this district...The water allows this district to have an increased ability to cool at night which is perfect for setting natural acids in your wine grapes. The natural factors of the Sacramento Delta give Clarksburg some distinction and that can be seen in the bottle."
Amen!

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