David Lawrason’s Weekly Wine Pick: an Okanagan merlot that’ll make you reconsider Sideways
Quails’ Gate 2009 Merlot
$25.94 | Okanagan Valley, B.C. | 91 Points
Merlot has become the great forgotten red grape since being mercilessly panned in Sideways—but don’t tell that to the folks in the Okanagan, where merlot remains the most planted red grape. The 2009 vintage was the best for red in the past five years, and the experienced hands at Quails’ Gate didn’t miss the opportunity to produce some great wine.
The taste: This shows classic, lovely ripe raspberry fruit with herbs and tea framed in lightly smoky, toasty oak. It’s medium-full bodied, smooth and svelte. There is some heat on the finish and green tannin as well, but the fruit delivers right through for excellent length.
How to drink it: This wine is balanced well enough for drinking right now, but also structured to keep over the next three to five years. Pour it lightly chilled into a large, broad-based decanter, and try it with your next elegant outdoor dinner of grilled chicken, pork tenderloin or even a juicy steak.