Chilian Merlot - Printable Version

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- Innkeeper - 09-20-2001 07:48 AM

Ever feel like a bass in a fishing contest that's been thrown back in? At the recommendations from people I respect tried these two the last two nights. 1998 Vermonte, Alto De Casablanca, Merlot ($10); and 1998 Errazuriz, Et Descanso Estate, Curico Valley, Merlot ($12). Paired them with simple foils, simply broiled fillet steak, and cheddarburgers respectively. They were easily drinkable, smooth, simply wines. However, the overwhelming flavor in both of them was green peppers. GREEN PEPPERS!!! But it gets worse. Went back and looked at the review on the Vermonte and sure enough they mentioned green peppers there! Then on the back of Errazuriz lable, they brag about tasting like green peppers!

Where has this come from? Since when is wine suppose to taste like green peppers? Why not onions, celery, and asparagus! I remember twenty or so years when the Monterey AVA was first established, some growers planted grapes right down in the Salinas Basin. The resulting wines were properly panned as tasting "vegetative." Now, apparently, vegetative is good! Have never tasted a Pomerol or St Emilion, or for that matter, a Collio Merlot that tasted like green peppers.

These wines were both hyped as great values at or about the ten dollor price point. Well, for the same price you can get a Bogle, Blackstone, Columbia Crest Grand Estate, or Eugenio Collavini, Merlot, Collio, Riserva Di Casa. These are all fine value merlots that do not taste like green peppers.

- Bucko - 09-20-2001 08:19 AM

My note on the 99:

1999 Veramonte, Merlot, Maipo, Chile, $10, 45,000 cases. Black cherry and olive aromas are echoed on the palate along with black pepper and earthy notes, balanced oak, and a long, lush aftertaste. Good value.

Not pepper juice here.

- Drew - 09-20-2001 08:35 AM

IK, every once in a while I'll detect a "green" streak in wines from Chile or Argentina but it doesn't seem to be bottle to bottle consistant.


- Innkeeper - 09-20-2001 09:26 AM

The point I'm trying to make is that they are trying to make it taste like this on purpose, because somebody has perpetated the idea that we like it. Here's what it says on the back of the Errazuriz label:

"A burst of green pepper and spice marries with soft tannis and rich berry flavors to create a wine of comlexity, with a long finish."

Here is what W&S in "A Taste For Value", said about the Vermonte, "It's dark and chocolatey, the cherry fruit blending with greener tones......This is more herbal in flavor.........."

- Thomas - 09-20-2001 11:28 AM

IK, I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that this is planned pepper. I have detected green pepper in Friulian Merlot once in a while. It is a technical thing: have a cool year and not the best ripening conditions, especially in an already cool or mountainously cool climate, and you will get green pepper in both the Cabernet Clan and Merlot.

I sometimes like to smother a steak with green pepper and onions--hint, hint.

- Bucko - 09-20-2001 09:24 PM

I don't mind a little bell pepper in wine, especially with pepper steak.

- winoweenie - 09-21-2001 06:20 AM

Where's Dr. Peterson when you need him? WW

- Thomas - 09-21-2001 11:31 AM

ww, I think the doc would agree with my assessment: I have both grown grapes and made wine--commercially--in the not-too-distant past.

I remember back when V Satui (sp) started out in the seventies and I gave the volkswagon-cum-winery a visit. His Cabernet was decidedly green pepperish. I was told that it was a character of the grape. That was before I knew much about grape growing and learned that it is indeed a charcater of that grape, provided the grape is not fully ripened.

- Bucko - 09-21-2001 12:19 PM

Thus the big impact of canopy management around the world.

- Thomas - 09-21-2001 02:46 PM

hear, hear, Bucko. Sometimes you make sense...

- winoweenie - 09-21-2001 05:35 PM

Foodie, you dropped a "T" but Vic wuldn't give a dern. Lots of bad wine made all over the world 'afore some of the smarter winemakers decifered the problems. The proper canopy management in conjunction with leaf trimming has been a great boon to superior wines. Know IK hates this as he'll have to drop some dill-pickle juice in some of his cabs so them'll go with his bell-pepper smothered steaks. [img][/img] WW