Accolades for Merlot
Full Pull Wines Calls 2009 Merlot "A Merlot for Adults"
"...Marie-Eve Gilla is a Merlot trainer extraordinaire.. she has a clear affinity for this Bordelaise varietal..."
Paul Zitarelli, Full Pull Wines, November 2012
"Hello friends. I sympathize with Merlot.
It is genetically predisposed to become soft, round, & fleshy. Me too.
Fortunately, there are personal trainers in the world, for humans & grapes. And Marie-Eve Gilla is a Merlot trainer extraordinaire...
...Much of Merlot's decline in popularity has been traced to the famous scene in Sideways ("No, if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any [bleeping] Merlot!"). Okay, sure, but there's a reason that line was written:
A lot of California Merlot really, really sucked. (Much of it still sucks; some has gotten better)
Soft, fleshy, insipid: this was an adult beverage for a child's palate. And it wasn't restricted to California; plenty of Washington examples over the years have been deeply unpleasant.
But climatically, I do think cooler Washington is more suited to early-ripening Merlot than California, & we have had some knockout examples over the past few years to underscore that point.
The latest is this 2009 vintage from Marie-Eve at Forgeron, whose only drawback is the painfully small production (185 cases). It is a near 50/50 split from 2 outstanding growers: Dick Boushey's cool-climate, eponymous site in the Yakima Valley, & Ted Wildman's sun-drenched Stone Tree Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope.
While Marie-Eve was born & trained in Burgundy, she has a clear affinity for this Bordelaise varietal, whipping it into shape, trimming the babyfat & making a Merlot for adults. The deep, intense aromas of black cherry, high-cacao chocolate, & peppermint prepare you for a lovely wine ahead, & the palate delivers. Let's talk about mouthfeel, because that's where Washington Merlot really distinguishes itself. This is silky in its initial stages, allowing the flavors to explode across the attack & mid-palate. Transitioning into the finish, it picks up enough chewiness that, tasted blind, you might start thinking this was Cabernet.
But no, it's Merlot, with its lovely core of red cherry fruit, shaded by notes of clean soil & lovely minty/eucalyptus lift. There is intensity & complexity to burn here, a real feast for the intellect & the senses."
Paul Zitarelli, FullPullWines.com, November 2012Tweet