Wine Review: Sherwood House Oregon Road Merlot 2010

I recently visited Greenport on Long Island, and decided to pick up a wine from the area. Quick review, wherein I hide the mess on my desk with a packet of cookies, featuring Bumblebee:

20140417_212643Hailing from North Fork, this is Sherwood House’s “Oregon Road” Merlot 2010, retail about $18.Not sure why they call it Oregon Road, but the label is delightfully frontier. The minimalism appeals to my au naturale wine sensibilities.

Merlot takes a hit for being so commonly drunk, for which I blame Paul Giamatti’s beautifully delivered line in Sideways. If you want the delicacy and finesse of Pinot Noir, go right ahead, but for a sock-rocking, beautiful Merlot, Sherwood House delivers a great specimen of the type: big and fruity and not shy with the tannins.

Long Island, of course, is known as a reliable source of Merlot, and compared with the more common California variety, this bottle isn’t as sweet or tart. It’s a ruby-purple color, light and easy on the palate. The grape benefits from the oak aging in subtle ways, producing a more old-world bouquet on the tongue, very different from the fruity, berry flavors in the nose. The mouth-feel is classic Merlot, dry, with a nice long tail in the throat. The official copy describes flavors of vanilla and smoke, which I don’t really get, but I see how the oak could be interpreted this way.  It also recommends having it with pizza, very New York, and something I totally agree with. It’s especially gratifying after seeing the vast, beautifully tended green vineyards of North Fork. Check it out if you’re in the area!

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