How perfecting and reinforcing when accompanying wines fall right into step with holiday meals.
Wines of California, if not notoriously, often are inherently exuberant, decadent, and perhaps warm, if not warming; due to the famously abundant sunshine facilitating the growing season. The ripeness in these wines, especially those wines made in portions of the state shielded from cooling influences of the Pacific or the San Francisco Bay, typically means more fleshy, dense, bold fruit flavors; and sweetness levels and alcohol levels that need careful management. Napa Valley, still revelling in all its fame, produces polished and luscious wines from warmer-climate varietals. The long running discussion generated by proliferated new American oak barrel use–which imparts butteriness, sweet spiceness, and can potentially produce homogeneity– must be mentioned as well for its presence in California and Napa especially .And of course, the merlot grape of Bordelaise heritage, grown all over the world in seemingly endless iterations, has also been made famous for exceptional examples coming from Napa Valley, alongside Napa’s cabernets and chardonnays. The best Napa merlots–or truly, any New World merlots– are built for cellaring but maintain ripe fruit qualities over time.
The Mondavi family– brothers Robert and Peter– commandeered much of the success of Napa in the early days of California winemaking; they championed separate winemaking enterprises. Still today, both Mondavis’ wineries produce brilliant, honest wines of the world’s noble grapes that are largely made economically accessible. Charles Krug Peter Mondavi Family Winery merlot, 2008, was among the wines for Thanksgiving. Warm. Decadant. Lovely. The only simplicity surrounding this wine was the ease with which the wine moved from bottle to palate; plush, smooth, captivating immediately in the glass. An emboldening, enlivening wine; bold and alive, too, with sweet, ripe blueberries, plums, and cherries. Incredibly layered with warm oak toast notes of toffee and chocolate richness. There is an amazing dichotomous parity of this merlot’s drinkability with its exceptional balance. Fine velvet, this wine, and fine fragrance of heady dark fruit and spice, but its full body balanced by bright acidity perfect for the heavy Thanksgiving dishes. This Charles Krug bottling mirrored the quality of a Napa merlot of three times the price.
This Napa merlot was among those wines that knit together the warm and decadent components of the evening; the bottle was found for $20 at the Biloxi Popps Ferry Package Store neighboring Winn Dixie on Pass Road. Clink glasses and give thanks.