Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's in My Glass Wednesdays! 2008 Merlot 'Rutherford' by Frog's Leap Winery

After speaking to Frog's Leap Winery this past Monday, I thought it only appropriate to highlight a very good wine that they produce: the 2007 Merlot (Rutherford).  I really enjoyed this wine - in the tasting room and having a bottle here at home with dinner.  It's a great medium-bodied red: not to heavy, not too light!  

I love as you pop open these bottles, you're greeted by an entertaining cork (I'm a big fan of themes):
Frog's Leap Winery Bottle Corks
(Photo by author)

FROG'S LEAP'S 2008 Merlot
Frog's Leap Wine Label

The D-2010 Scale 
2007 Merlot by Frog's Leap Winery (Rutherford, Napa Valley, CA)
Appearance (10 points possible): Medium red color density, brick edges, clear. - 10 points
Aroma/Bouquet (20 points possible): Ripe black cherries burst from the glass with this wine.  Slightly earthy, smoky, bacon fat, and slight cherry pie reminiscence. - 18 points
Taste (10 points possible): Medium-bodied entry, black cherry flavors, crisp acidity, which really freshens up the wine, full-bodied mid-palate with cocoa notes and ripe tannins.  Finish is smooth and lingering with black cherry flavors.  There is a slight metallic note, probably from Brett. - 8 points
Balance (5 points possible): I think this wine is a good example of a medium-bodied Merlot (compared to a light Merlot) showing good balance among the alcohol, tannin level, and body.  The hint of Brett has to dock a point here, but the Brett is not taking away from the style.  I actually really like how it matches the rest of the wine here. - 4 points
Finish (5 points possible): Smooth, lingering with black cherry flavors.  Quite pleasant.  For those that can taste the metallic notes of Brett, I get it a little bit in the finish (and in the nose), but otherwise, it's not overpowering or spoiling this wine. - 4 points 
Add 50 points for attempt, packaging, closure, etc.
Total Points: 94
Overall Thought: I really like several things about Frog's Leap winemaking: 1) the grapes are organic and grown in a well-done manor, 2) the alcohol levels are kept at about 12%, which I really feel adds balance and longevity to red wines, 3) the acid is in a good place - meaning, unlike many Napa red wines, these wines are not flat... and it's obvious that the grapes were picked early enough to hold the acid content, while managing varietal flavors, and 4) even though there are hints of Brett in some of their wines, the Brett is not overpowering.  In their case, I would say it's a great contributing level to their wines.  However, I know they probably don't want it.  And without it, a new style of wine would bloom from their winery. 
Food Pairings: I'd drink this wine with hamburgers, red-based pastas, steak dinners, and meals containing bacon.  I'd really like to see this paired with French cuisine and a variety of cheese platters.  Yuuumm!  I think it's also a perfect spring picnic wine for big-red wine lovers and lighter-red wine lovers.  It's a good middle-of-the-road bodied wine that pairs very well with many foods.
Cost: About $34 
Splurge Factor (out of 4): 2 - I know the price point is higher here, but it's worth it. 
Where to buy: Frog's Leap Winery lists a bunch of states that they can ship to, but I've already found some Frog's Leap wine in Florida.  I'm sure it is nationally distributed.  Cheers!

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