I think we’ll eventually see a renaissance in wine blends here in the U.S. I’m not exactly sure when this will be but it’s clear from the wine I’m reviewing tonight that a blend can be so much more than the sum of it’s parts. A few years back, producers in California recognized that they needed to come up with a marketing term for blends inspired by the wines of Bordeaux and came up with Meritage (pronounced like “heritage”). The term was intended to signify wines of merit that exemplified the heritage of the best wines made from traditional Bordeaux varieties in America.
And this wine from Clos LaChance really delivers on that promise. This family winery started in the late 1980’s as a backyard winery that has grown into over 150 acres of vineyards located just 20 miles south of San Jose.They make a number of wines in three different tiers with the “special select” being the top of their range. I was not familar with this producer, but from the wines I’ve tasted so far, this looks like a winery to seek out.
Clos LaChance, Meritage, Estate Vineyard, “Special Select” 2005 ($50/sample) – Dark purple color with aromas of black cherry, eucalyptus, licorice and vanilla. Blackberry and dark currant flavors with mint and bell pepper finishing with sweet oak and moderate tannins. Well balanced and quite enjoyable now but will continue to gain complexity with another 2-3 years of cellaring. This wine is throwing a fair amount of sediment now, so you might want to decant before serving.
Natural cork closure