For those of you that read my blog you know how much I enjoy Grgich Hills for who they are, where they came from and the wine making philosophy they stand for. I got my first taste of what Grgich was all about not through a bottle of wine but by listening to a Graperadio podcast. The two part (Part 1 and Part 2) series introduced us to Miljenko “Mike” Grgich and how he first gained international notoriety after his Chateau Montelena Chardonnay won the 1976 Paris tasting. After learning about how Mike came of age as a great winemaker in Napa Valley I learned of his quest to keep on top of the best vineyard practices, ones that are good for the wine as well as the land. Being intrigued, I went out and got the book “Judgement of Paris” by George Taber and learned more about Mike Grgich as well the history of how Napa Valley came to be the wine mecca it is today.
I wrote a little while ago about the 2001 Grgich Cabernet Sauvignon that I was slightly disappointed with, mostly because of my preconceived notions of how I thought it should be and how I remembered it was from my visit to their tasting room in 2004.
Recently I pulled another Grgich out of the Cellar, this time it was the 2002 Merlot, about the same price point as the Cabernet, around $50. This was what I remembered about Grgich wine, a truly fabulous expression of the grape from start to finish.
My Tasting Notes
Color – Very dark ruby red
Nose – Cedar, pine, cherry, pomegranate, black tea, vanilla, corn husk
Taste – Black cherry, blueberry, blackberry, cardamom, cinnamon, under ripe green grapes
Mouthfeel – Full body, spicy yet soft and polished across the tongue
Finish – LONG, with the tannins leave a nice fuzzy feeling in the mouth
This was a big, complex, layered Merlot that shows the best of what California Merlot has to offer. Definitely on the New World end of the spectrum but not over the top displaying lots of great earth flavors layered with the fruit and spice. I would definitely recommend this wine if you are looking for a “BIG” full bodied Merlot. This is up there with the Northstar Merlot I had a few months ago from Washington State, but the Grgich offered more spice and a more tannic finish.
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