Monday, December 10, 2007

2005 Smoking Loon Merlot

OneWinePerWeek has more than one wine to review! These were all one-night stands, though, not the usual drinking over the course of a week.

The pictured wine, a 2005 Smoking Loon Merlot, was purchased in a 2-pack from Costco for $11.00 ($5.50 each) some time ago and got kicked out of the Emerson Suites when I needed more room for more “serious” bottles (what a snob I am). It has spent the last several months under the bed although that doesn’t seem to have done any harm to it.

This wine had full, fruity aromas of mixed berries and a smoky component. On the palate there was plenty of ripe, smooth fruit and a slight bit of spice. The finish tailed off rapidly. This was sort of like wine Kool Aid, really.

I told myself ok, I am going to look for all sorts of different flavors in this wine and make myself think it is as complex as possible. In other words, I wanted to psyche myself out into thinking I was drinking a much more expensive and complex wine. However, try as I might there was nothing but fruit.

The Smoking Loon had more in common with a Beaujolais than a Merlot (maybe even sangria). If you want something really fruity and simple, this is the wine for you.

Our company’s annual holiday dinner dance took place on Saturday at the Brookside Country Club in Pasadena. On each table was placed a bottle of Kenwood Cabernet Sauvignon (non-vintage) and 2006 Chardonnay, both the “Yulupa” bottlings. I looked this up on Kenwood’s website and found out these particular bottlings are intended for restaurants.

The Chardonnay was lemony and herbal on the nose, and similar on the palate with a hint of oak. It was served in one of those thick, small wine glasses that can comfortably hold only about 3 ounces so there wasn’t much swirling or breathing room. It had decent acidity, pleasant flavors, and was pretty decent for a banquet wine.

The Cabernet was also decent although a bit diluted tasting. Currants and some vanilla oak on the nose were followed by similar tastes on the palate. Tannins were light and this was a pretty smooth-drinking wine that had Cabernet character as opposed to tasting like a generic red wine. I don't know how much this or the chardonnay cost but I'm sure they marked it up plenty!

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