Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Buttonwood Farm Merlot 2003

Santa Ynez Valley, California
85% Merlot
15% Cabernet Franc
13.7% alcohol

The Big Wooden Guy likes it. Also, we got a frog to keep the goldfish company.

From the bottlenotes:

Merlot...full bodied and supple with a spicy disposition. Take her to dinner with lamb, beef, pork or duck.

The first thing you notice on the nose is leaf tobacco and earth, a bit of a surprise in this Santa Ynez Valley Merlot. The 15% Cabernet Franc announces its presence with enthusiasm. Blackcurrant is the predominant fruit.

Blackcurrant and tobacco open the palate. They are very quickly replaced by cocoa and dark cherries, then some earthy mushrooms. It is all just slightly peppery, very pleasant. Tannins were soft and mouth-coating. Finish was surprisingly long.

So far, on Night One, this was a surprisingly good Merlot.

Night Two

Tobacco and blackcurrants are still strong on the nose. If you really stick your nose in a big glass and wait, you might catch a hint of blueberry in the background.

This wine has barely changed from Night One. Blackcurrant and tobacco stay on the palate a bit longer, then it goes straight to mushrooms and pepper, skipping the sweet cocoa and cherry midpalate. Tannins actually seem just a bit firmer, a soft but real backbone. Finish is still long.

This is really a very good wine, a surprisingly complex merlot for under $20.

I just noticed something interesting- I tried this very same wine, from the same shipment from California Wine Club, in June, and I hated it. It was not a matter of just being in a different mood, either. I remember that other bottle and it was just plain bad. It tasted terribly fake, chemical, and plainly gritty. Given the gross inconsistency between the two bottles I can not possibly recommend buying this, even though the second bottle was very good.

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