Domaine Brenac Merlot 2012 4.5 Stars

Pays d’Oc, France

Price: $16
Grapes: Merlot
Alcohol: 13%

From the Bottle:  “Established by our grandfather louis in 1932, our domain lies in the commune of Nizzan Lez Enserune, near Beziers in the Herault.  It is dominated by the Oppidum d’Enserune with its 2000 years of history, and our vineyards are skirted by the Canal du Midi and the Domitia way. Our Merlot is crafted from select parcels of grapes which have produced a wine with a deep ruby colour, aromas of blackberries and blackcurrants and a rich, silky, full-bodied black cherry and plum palate with a touch of toasty vanilla. The finish is long and smooth, with hints of liquorice, making this delicious wine the perfect partner for pasta with a spicy tomato sauce, grilled sausages and cheese platters.

A says:
Rating: ****
Color   Deep crimson
Smell   Vanilla and ripe berries
Taste   Very bitter – like extra dark chocolate.  The smell and the flavor reminded me of my grandparents’ basement, and I almost called in musty, until I realized the smell in the basement was probably coming from the cave, not the old books.  Before you think that musty basement is bad, however, let me assure you that I really liked this bottle.  It’s not fruity, but it fills your mouth in a delicious wash of strong flavor and has a smooth finish.  Mmm.

D says: 
Rating: *****
Smell  Surprisingly sweet
Taste   Can a wine be sharp?  I think this wine is.  It has a rich oak flavor; it’s smoky with just a hint of sweet to round it out.  I would buy a case – I thought it was delicious.

Verdict:  For the record, we tasted this wine and wrote our notes down without looking at the region.  The fact that we are again giving high marks to a wine from the Pays d’Oc is a testament to the products of the region – we’re not being paid off by winemakers from Southern France, and since we didn’t know where the wine was from when we drank it, we can’t blame psychology either.  This stuff is just good. Really, really good.  At $16, A could only justify 4 stars.  D, however, is going for broke an requesting that we purchase it in bulk.

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