First Pour Wine: Episode 3

This is the final episode in the series on the noble grapes.  This week we’re going to be talking about merlot and cabernet sauvignon, as well as a little about tannins.  This week’s wines are 2009 Bogle Merlot and 2007 Red Truck Cabernet Sauvignon.


What are tannins?  Tannins are technically a compound, a phenol, that comes from the grape’s stems, seeds, and skins.  These compounds can not be tasted, but are felt in the mouth.  It’s like something sucking the moisture out of ones mouth or having your tongue wrapped in velvet.  Why would anyone want this though?  For one thing is helps when eating things with a lot of fat and protein, since the tannins can seem less noticable as they amplify the flavor of the meal, say a grilled steak.

One reason red wines are so much more tannic than white wines, is because in white wine, the skins are removed.  As such, the wine does not sit on the skins as red does, and picks up so few tannins that they are rarely noticeable. With wine wine, this is a good thing, as the acid keeps it crisp and refreshing, and it isn’t necessary to add the mouth drying feeling of tannins.

Red wines don’t have that crisp acidity, so the nature of tannins gives them structure.  It also allows the wine to age. something acid would do in a white.  As such, many big reds like cabernet sauvignon can be overly tannic when they’re young, but as they age, something wonderful happens, and the tannins mellow out.  This produces a smooth, drinkable wine that can express its flavors while still providing a light amount of mouth drying pucker.

2009 Bogle Merlot

Sight: Somewhere between a deep purple and a dark ruby is where this wine resides.

Smell: Raspberry, cedar, and black pepper are the front runners, but the wine pulls in nuances of fresh chopped ginger, liquorice, chocolate, jalapeño, and soy sauce.

Sip: Aggressive tannins and a full mouth feel are the forerunners for a slightly hot blackberry and cedar flavor.  Touches of leather and diesel accompany. [ABV 13.5%]

Savor: Alcohol and tannins maintain a strong presence but fade into blackberry and raspberry.

Price: $8.95

This merlot is quite interesting, but doesn’t have the softness that is sometimes associated with merlot.  It could potentially use another year, but it is a rather fun wine because of it’s complexity and unique smells.
Clarksburg, CA
(916) 744 – 1139

2007 Red Truck Cabernet Sauvignon

Sight: Slight oranging along the edge from age, robust purple heart.

Smell: Strawberry jam, raisins, and prunes lead a parade of red fruit, including black currants and cranberries.  Touches of mint, jasmine, lavender, and caramel add complexity to the wonderful fruit aromas.

Sip: Black pepper joins with strawberry jam, figs and raspberry to form a pleasing full bodied cabernet sauvignon.  Hints of nutmeg and mint play background.  Very tannic. [ABV 13.5%]

Savor: Raisins with a slight anise note are swept away by the tannins.  Better for food pairing such as fresh tomato pasta or grilled red meats.  Perhaps even a cheeseburger with big slices of juicy tomatoes.

Price: $8.95

While this isn’t a particularly oaky cabernet sauvignon, it makes up for it with fruit character.  Much like the label, the wine doesn’t take itself overly seriously, and is probably going to be a nice pairing for those that like heavy reds and don’t want to give them up in the summer.
Sonoma, CA

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  • The Gourmez

    Just letting you know I quoted you on the Bogle Merlot over on my blog today. I didn’t get as many different layers to it as you did, but I think I liked it more!

    • Hey, glad to hear you liked the wine, it’s always nice to have more than one palate in the room 🙂