Drink This: Bluestone Vineyard 2021 Estate Grown Merlot
Supple and nuanced, this Shenandoah Valley merlot stood out in a recent tasting
Are you enjoying The Cork Report? Do you want to support independent wine writing? Consider upgrading to a paid subscription.
As someone who has been living on Long Island for more than two decades (and who will have written about them for 20 years less than a month from today), I taste plenty of merlot. It’s the most-planted red wine grape here. Everyone makes at least one.
Generally, I think Long Island — and the North Fork of Long Island AVA — makes the best merlot in the East. I often find examples from regions south of here wanting, not because of the quality of the fruit, but what winemakers try to do with that fruit. Virginia winemakers can be particularly guilty of over-use of new oak, over-extraction, too-high levels of alcohol, or some combination of the three.
Since merlot is one of my focuses this month, I look forward to exploring a bit more and finding wines like this one — Bluestone Vineyard 2021 Estate Grown Merlot ($28*), which is not only well-made and dodges all three of those maladies, it also represents a good value at $28.
Red cherry and plum aromas are layered with those of earthy leaf tobacco, dried flowers, spice, and vanilla. There is a delicacy to the nuance here, with those non-fruit qualities supporting the ripe red fruits. Red fruits drive the medium-bodied palate as well, with a bit more vanilla and spice lingering at the edges. Supple, and polished, the tannins are soft and there is just a little freshness. The finish is medium-long and has a velvety feel.
Bluestone Vineyard 2021 Estate Grown Merlot
Region: Shenandoah Valley AVA (Virginia)
Rating: 90 pts
Price: $28* (Available Here)
The Cork Report is reader-supported. Please consider upgrading to a paid subscription.
*sample provided by winery