Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wines I'm Drinking: More Cheap Merlot from Grocery Outlet

I tasted two more cheap Merlots from Grocery Outlet last night, the 2005 Alamos Merlot from Mendoza in Argentina, and the 2007 Tilia Merlot, also from Mendoza. I recently tasted the 2005 and 2007 Merlots from Chile's Cousiño-Macul. To see the earlier reviews, use the search box above.

The 2007 Tilia Merlot was a deep blackish purple. The nose was rather closed, particularly at first, but it eventually offered hints of oak, something vaguely floral, and citrus scents; there was something that reminded me of the orange-vanilla popsicles I remember from my boyhood--always purchased outside, from a truck, in a hot summer street. On the palate, the wine was tart, light-bodied, and fairly short. It didn't have a lot of grip. There was very little tannin to speak of, just a slightly bitter finish suggestive of citrus rind--blood oranges perhaps. Nothing objectionable, but nothing special either. Fairly priced at $2.99 a bottle (Grocery Outlet offers an additional 10% discount for case purchases, including mixed cases), but this is not one I'd buy again. Probably best with fatty, meaty foods such as spare ribs or barbecue that do well with fairly acidic wines. This normally retails for $8-10 a bottle.

The 2005 Alamos Merlot was a more interesting wine. It was a deep plummy red tinged with brown--showing its age a little bit. It had an earthy, slightly oaky nose, but remained fairly closed. It was considerably more inviting on the palate, offering clean fruit sweetness, light tannins, and good acidity. The flavors were sufficiently concentrated to linger. Despite a somewhat austere, woody finish and light body, the wine came across as fresh and flavorful. Words like "neat" and "compact" kept coming to mind. With a little time, the palate opened out to reveal hints of cherries, plums, and something chocolatey, and ultimately the finish softened a bit too, becoming sweeter and less harsh. Not great wine, and I preferred the 2005 Cousiño-Macul Merlot reviewed elsewhere in these pages, but solid and a very good value at $2.99 a bottle. Sufficiently interesting to warrant having a few bottles around the house for informal occasions. This normally retails for $10-12 a bottle.


  1. I might try that Alamos Merlot. I'm normally not a Merlot fan, but at $2.99, anything's worth a try.

  2. Well, the Cousiño-Macul 2005 is better wine, but, yes, this is worth $2.99 in my opinion. I'm not much of a Merlot drinker either, but I don't shun wine BECAUSE it's Merlot either.

  3. I will definitely check out that one. I'm always game to try a new red.


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