Wine: Emiliana Vineyards Natura Merlot
Region: Rapel Valley, Chile
In the glass: Natura Merlot is a firm, deep semi-opaque ruby-red color with a dark crimson core going out into a light red to pinkish rim definition and medium viscosity.
On the nose: The wine exudes classical elements of merlot from France with concentrated soft extract of black and red berries, dominated by brambleberry, raspberry sorbet, creamy blueberry, and just pure fruits of the forest with no discernable flaws or traces of oak influences.
On the palate: The wine is soft and rounded with slightly spicy berry fruit, sloe fruit juice, elderberry, mulberry and hints of minerals. The midpalate is firm and softly tannic going into a good balanced finish that displays yet more black fruit and herbs de Provence.
It is an excellent medium-bodied wine to be enjoyed with food, and is a great example of pure merlot from Chile, which is normally associated with cabernet and carmenere.
Odds and ends: Natura Merlot is an excellent young merlot from the highly rated viticultural area of Rapel Valley, where noted producer Casa Lapostolle also makes some wines. This wine is made for nice meat, especially grilled lamb or veal chops. While it drinks well right out of the bottle, letting it sit for about 30 minutes before consumption will open up the wine and show its full potential. It should age for about two to three years, but can be consumed during the entirety of this period.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at email@example.com.