It's a new month, so I say go big or go home! And tonight we are going big, since I'm already home, with the 2009 Stags Leap Napa Valley Merlot! Now many of you already know I like my Merlot, and I am a big fan of Stags Leap, so since I had three bottles of this wine delivered to my office today, I figured why not try one with dinner tonight and get me in the mood for a presidential debate (I think I'll follow it on Univision, so I get less biased reporting and the the chance at the appearance of gorgeous models and confetti, thanks to Don Hunt for that line).
Now, on to the wine! This one has a lovely, deep purple color in the glass. The nose is absolutely lovely, with aromas of leather, oak, mint and something green that I can't quite put my finger on. The taste is just an explosion of wonderful flavors dancing around your mouth. I often talk about how flavors progress from your first taste, to midpalate to the finish, but this wine just shows a pronounced yet smooth transition through all those phases. At first I taste lovely fruit, cassis, ripe cherry and plum, which transitions to oak and leather, moving toward a fantastically earthy finish, which I honestly didn't expect. The tannins are very well structured, providing balance to the earthy flavors and a wonderfully long finish. It's still very young, and could probably be cellared for another 5 years before reaching its prime, but it's drinking beautifully now (which reminds me I have a few bottles of '07 Stags Leap Merlot around here somewhere that I should drink!).
Now for those who are familiar with Stags Leap, the wines are usually pretty pricey, but occasionally you can find a bargain as I did with this wine for only $20 on wineshopper.com. For that price, I can easily rate this wine a solid 9, and I only wish not that I'd bought more than 3 bottles! Tonight I am enjoying this with some maple bourbon glazed pork tenderloin, steamed rice and fresh green beans, and yes, this wine has every chance to overpower that meal, but I won't complain one bit!