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Errazuriz (Chile) Merlot 2001
I don't often have a Merlot as Wine of the Week, which is just a purely personal thing: I often find Merlot in the sub-£10 range to be a bit uninteresting as a pure varietal wine. This modestly priced wine from the reliable Errazuriz struck me as a particularly good example. It comes from the Curicó Valley, and about one third of the wine is aged in a mix of French and American oak. The nose is an elegant melange of cedary tobacco and sweet blackcurrant compote fruit. On the palate there's an underpinning smoky, vanilla-tinged oakiness that is warm and enveloping, but then a bittersweet plum and damson fruit core emerges, with plenty of spice and firm, but polished tannins. The acidity is well-judged, leaving the wine fresh and savoury on the palate, despite its creamy texture, with good length where that spicy, fruitcake quality dominates. A really well-made wine for sipping on its own or matching to roasts or robust Italian food.
5.99 Oddbins, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Thresher.