Good Sunday evening! Well the high today was 4, and outside of a little shoveling this morning, I've stayed inside all day. Seems like a perfect evening to enjoy a glass of wine by a roaring fire! And tonight's wine is the 2006 Vine Haven Napa Valley Merlot, a bottle I bought from Saddleback Cellars with a gift certificate that some good friends gave me for Christmas. Vine Haven was a second label of Napa Valley Merlot that Saddleback created, but it only lasted for two vintages, this one and the 2005, but I'm certainly not complaining!
The wine is a deep garnet in the glass with great clarity. The nose is a lovely combination of ripe plum, green grass and a hint of leather that reminds me of a nice Bordeaux. The taste is wonderful, a blast of dark chocolate, cherry cola and blackberry overwhelms your senses, and then smoothly transitions to some wonderful mineral notes of dusty limestone and peat midpalate. The tannins are still firm and well structured, providing a solid foundation for the long, smooth dry finish with just enough Bordeaux funk to bring back memories of sipping Pomerol in Paris.
Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, it's a great example of the varietal and an exceptional value at just $20, I'm just sorry I only ordered one bottle! Tonight I am having a tougher time pairing this than usual, as I have a nice Angus ribeye ready to grill, but as the temperature outside is now 1, I have no intention of trying to grill a steak out by the garage! Instead, this is a job for my trusty George Foreman, my first time trying to grill anything beyond a pannini in it! If it works, this Merlot will be perfect with the ribeye and my baked potato and steamed asparagus. Cheers!