File this in the”old dog, new tricks” category. I’ve never been a fan of Italian Merlot. The ones I’d had the misfortune to experience were thin, too vegetal, and in some cases gave off sour, vinegary scents and flavors. Not much to recommend there. For more wine recommendations, check out our wine review blog.
So…practicing what I preach, to never give up on a grape from a specific region without ample evidence, the search for a representative Merlot brought me to Friuli – and two excellent examples of the adaptability and diversity a varietal can offer.
The first came from Walter Scarbolo, a Friuli Grave DOC. Floral and herbaceous, it was more reserved and less concentrated than many of its New World cousins. Subdued tannins lurked beneath dark berry-cherry flavors in a smoothly textured wine of typical Friulian depth and extraction, giving it a presence I hadn’t found in other versions from Italy.
The other was Livio Felluga’s “Sosso” Riserva from the Colli Orientali. From its opaque color to a dry, cedary finish, it showed concentration and a solid tannic backbone that was still exerting a grip after a decade in bottle, but which faded quickly to reveal plummy dark fruits that were maturing well. The nose was ripe and pleasantly showing its age, with faint traces of slowly oxidizing—a stunning wine.
Nothing left to say except, “Bow wow!”