Ever since the movie Sideways back in 2004 Merlot has gotten a bad rap. True, a remarkable amount of unremarkable merlot was produced in California for a number of years. But when handled by a caring winemaker the grape can make a very good wine. Several wineries on Long Island produce Merlot wines that are definitely worth trying.
Onabay Vineyard’s 2010 Blue Heron Merlot is a rich red color in the glass. We found the nose to be dominated by notes of plum and that follows through in the mouth. Besides the plum we also tasted cherry and a little licorice. It finished with a lingering taste of spice and was slightly salty.
The tannins were light, perhaps because the winemaker used only 25% new oak barrels while aging the wine for 15 months. This is a very drinkable wine – easy on the palate, we would unapologetically serve this to friends at a party or with dinner.
The wine is a blend of 91% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot.