Bottoms Up: Candoni Merlot D.O.C. Italy

Bottoms Up: Candoni Merlot D.O.C. ItalyHere on I am always looking for an excuse to write new and fresh content. From sharing my reviews on the latest blockbuster films to talking about vacations that I take, every day is a new adventure for me and for my writing. Thanks to some loyal Twitter followers, I have yet another topic to start writing on.

Tonight, for dinner, I grabbed a nice bottle of merlot. I am not a HUGE fan of merlot, but I was having steak and it just made sense. I had a lot of beer this past weekending in Pensacola (we went south to celebrate Valentine’s Day) I was ready for a glass of vino.

There are a million guys out there reviewing wine, some of which are very close friends of mine. For example, I love reading reviews from Rick Bakas – Back to Bakas – as he is a certified sommelier and knows his stuff. This dude is sick when it comes to wine knowledge. He is a true social media and online brand genius, and uses his passion for wine and his skills with social media to his advantage.

Then there is Gary Vaynerchuk, a guy who started Wine Library TV and is posturing himself to purchase the New York Jets in a few years. He is the most passionate guy I have ever met, and I LOVE watching him talk about wine.

So to try and “fit in” with these guys, I needed to be different. Rick writes his reviews and shares them on his website. Gary records them, and he looks good doing it. So I figured I would take some of Gary’s passion and write my reviews as well. Sort of a best of both worlds, if you will.

So, thanks to Jason Sutton and Rob McGill for inspiring me to write this blog post. Below you will see my first wine review, and I will be talking about the moment I decided to buy it all the way to the time I starting sniffing the wine. Consider this an opinioned realist’s point of view on wine. I hope you enjoy!

Deciding What’s for Dinner

After I left work this evening, I was hungry. I had a very busy day, so I skipped lunch, and decided to stop by Marsh on my way home. With a salad in mind, I walked into the grocery story ready to feed my face.

I ended up walking around for ten minutes, never deciding what was for dinner. Then I walked past the meat department, saw they had a sale on steaks, and decided that I would prepare a nice sirloin for dinner. What goes well with a steak? A nice baked potato of course!

I made my way to the produce department, grabbed a baked potato, and then decided it was time to purchase something to drink. I can’t have a nice meal like this without an adult beverage. So I headed to the back of the store and started looking through their wine list. Before I knew it I was checking out with a nice bottle of merlot.

You see, I am not the biggest fan of merlot. I do really enjoy red wines, but merlots leave a weird taste in my mouth that is hard to shake. Unless I am pairing it with a meal, it’s hard for me to enjoy one. But hey, I was in fact enjoying this bottle with a meal, so I figured why not? I grabbed it (as it was on sale) and headed toward the check out.

Merlot D.O.C Italy

The bottle I picked out was a D.O.C. Italy merlot. And I have to be honest, the only reason I picked this bottle was the label. When I picked it up, and realized the label was actually printed on the side of the bottle, and that each label was unique and seemed to have been hand painted, I knew I made the right decision. Plus, this wine was on sale for only $9.99. Any wine that comes in at under ten bucks is a win in my book.

I have a wine journal at home where I record all my thoughts about every bottle I open. I record the name of the wine, the vintage (or the year), the color, the aroma, the flavor and more. It’s a way for me to focus in on my wines and make sure that I am not just buying a wine to drink, but also buying a wine to appreciate.

It is a common misconception that wines must be old to be good. That is not true at all. Wines can be good having been bottled just last week. Of course, the longer they sit the more time they have to grow into their true flavors, but the year is not as important to me as the price, at least at this stage in my life.

I picked it up and thought nothing more about it until I got home. I cut the paper (the foil that goes around the top of the bottle and covers the cork) and opened this puppy up.

When I drink a bottle of wine, I have a process. I first open it and let it air for a few moments. Then I pour a small sample in a glass and again give it time to air. As soon as I did that, the aroma smacked me in the face and I about fell over with the scent. I have never poured a sample of wine in a glass before to have this much aroma out of the gate.

I then swirl the wine in the glass, coating the glass with the vino, and stick my nose RIGHT in there. The closer I get my nose to the wine, the further down in the glass I can go, the better experience I have. I can enjoy a glass of wine and never taste it! Of course, that would be wasteful.

After I smell it, I then take a sip, swish it around my mouth, making sure to hit every corner, and then spit. I never swallow the first drink. I make sure that my mouth has ample opportunity to experience ALL of the flavors in that glass. I get the full effect, and then can see what my next move is. Of course, my next move is usually to pour a glass, but this gives me material for my wine journal, and also gets me prepared for my first glass.

Since this is a new topic for me here, I wanted to also share all of the information that I find on the label. Especially the vineyard’s words, always found on the back of the bottle. This is what this bottle had to say.

Before the days of ancient Rome’s greatness, Italy was home of the Etruscans. Their hand-painted frescoes depicted figured vibrant with life, often eating, dancing or playing musical instruments. We at Candoni want to recall the Etruscan joy of life by offering our Merlot. To achieve its quality and rich flavor we use only grapes grown in a perfect spectacular Friuli region. Our Merlot is a perfect complement to roast meats, pasta and cheese. Serve at room temperature to enjoy its peak flavor. Be sure to also try all our other Candoni wines.

As you can see, the wine label is in fact hand-painted, and they also suggest that you drink this wine with meats and cheese. They also tell you to enjoy this at room temperature, as some folks like to chill all their wines, not just the whites. This just goes to show, you can learn a lot on the back of a wine bottle.

From the Nose to the Tongue

I already made mention to the nose on this wine. It’s huge, with lots of floral. This gets me excited to take the first sip.

With as big of a nose as this wine has, I was shocked at the overall flavor of the wine. It was not a typical merlot at all. The nose was ten times that of the first drink. But, that might be a good thing, especially for those of us who are not keen on a glass of merlot. Granted, my taste buds have changed over the years, but a merlot has always been just dry and boring.

This wine isn’t that exciting on the tongue, but it’s subtle and to the point. There is not a big aftertaste, either. At first sip, you get some flavors dancing on the back of your tongue, but that’s it. The entire front half of your mouth is simply wet.

The aftertaste, what little aftertaste there is, is weak and doesn’t make me think merlot. But again, that’s a good thing. For a ten-buck wine, I am beyond impressed. I would recommend this wine with a meal, but I would also recommend this wine sitting on the back porch watching the sunset or snuggling up next to your sweetheart for a night in.

This wine gets 7/10 from me. It is rare for me to give a wine this high of a rating, especially one that is so cheap, but I am impressed. This was a good purchase, and I highly recommend this for your next red meat meal.

Have you had a chance to try this wine? What did you think of this young merlot?