WWWBW 1.0: Santa Ema 2002 Merlot

What I don’t know about wine can fill a book. Several in fact. But rather than look upon that as a handicap, I see it rather as an oppotunity. So imagine my surprise and happiness when I found out that lenndevours” suggested a monthly blog meme surrounding ….wait for it…wine! How cool! How glamourous! How totally unprepared I am for it!

Well, the first one’s theme was fairly simple…Inexpensive New World Merlot that is not from the United States under $15. So European Merlots were out, as were American. No prob, as I would use this opportunity to explore the new Trader Joe’s just down the block from me. Sadly, their collection of imports was not as extensive as…say…Larry’s. But I found a wine that I thought might work:

Santa Ema 2002 Merlot: I suppose at this point I should say something witty about this Chilean wine… along the lines of “This wine is documented to be a bit precocious, but yet ethereal as it exits the palatte. But in my research on this wine, I was able to find out a bit about the wine and the winery.

Santa Ema has been around for a while. Since 1955 to be exact. Pedro Pavone arrived in Chile in 1917, the son of Italian winemakers from Piedmonte. For 20 years Mr Pavone sold his grapes to well established Chilean wineries until he decided to establish the new prestigious Santa Ema winery in 1955, together with his son Felix. Which is nice and touching, but still makes me suspicious. According to Karen MacNeil, in her must have “Wine Bible“: “In Chile, however, merlot, like the sauvignon blanc in that country, may not be entirely the real thing. Many Chilean wines labeled merlot turn out, after scientific testing, to be merlot interplanted with carmenère…”

So I may or may not be drinking pure merlot. I hope this doesn’t count against me.

Santa Ema Merlot 2002 is a wine described by Inverarity Vaults to “fresh and grapey, with some additional raspberry flavour, finishing soft and clean.” The back of the wine bottle itself (never a fine source of unbiased opinion) states “Intense red color with elegant violet nuances. The perfect combination between prunes, blackberries, soft cassis and barrel attributes (read: woodiness) such as toffee and chocolate. Easy to drink. A balance and roundness wine.”

We shall see.

Taste results: For a red, it’s light on the tannins, which is good for me, ’cause i’m not fond of them. It’s deep and certainly chocolatey as the label say. Although I cannot place either blackberries or rasberries in taste, the sweet prune taste is certainly there and not unpleasant either. I can easily see myself serving this with a good rare steak, or even a rich dark chocolate dessert. It’s sweet, but not overly so. But it can be oaky near the end, which I would take as a no-no. The undertones have a bit of a molassas taste to them.

It’s certainly not a horrible wine, and at 8 bucks a bottle, worth it

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