Ménage à Trois Lavish Merlot 2016

The Ménage à Trois Lavish Merlot 2016 is 81% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petite Sirah, and 5% Petit Verdot (other than the Petite Sirah, it’s very Bordeaux, at least in grape selection) sourced from vineyards in Monterey, the Lodi Delta region, and the North Coast AVA, all in Northern California. Ménage à Trois is one of Trinchero Family Estates (founded in 1945) 40+ wine brands, they do the high-end wines under their own name and the brands tend to be different levels of more affordable wine. This Merlot is produced in the new, popular style of wines that feature very specific oak derived flavors with ripe, lush fruit. Ménage à Trois also offers a more traditional California Merlot if you are interested in doing a before and after comparison tasting. This Merlot was aged “on” French and American oak, the different species of oak add different flavors and texture to the wine, so a very careful selection of oak is used to achieve the desired effect. The tasting notes say “on” oak rather than “in” oak, I having been seeing that a lot recently, you don’t pour wine on oak barrels, you pour it in oak barrels. I think I know what they are trying to say and they seem to be very proud of how the Lavish Merlot turned out, so maybe they should be say how the oak flavoring was incorporated rather than being obtuse. The alcohol content is 13.8%.

The color is a barely see-thru black cherry red, it looks good when swirling it in your glass. The nose is pretty good, smells expensive, ripe red and black berries, brown sugar, menthol, black pepper, and light spice. This Merlot has pretty decent acidity, a large mouth-feel, but is actually close to medium-bodied than full-bodied. It starts with extracted blackberry and ripe sweet blueberry, then the baking spices kick, followed by black pepper and plums. The mid-palate brings cranberry, faint cold coffee and a hit of exotic spice. The tannins are well blended in with the body of the wine and the acidity gives all the flavors plenty of room to unfold. I mentioned a great deal of spice in the tasting notes, but this is not an over-the-top wine, it is a flavorful wine. The finish is mild, but hangs around.

See also  Raimat Tempranillo 2011

The Ménage à Trois Lavish Merlot is a very tasty wine, its foundation is traditional Merlot, even if its flavor profile isn’t. I must confess that I think Merlot, other than from Bordeaux and a few other places, is a blending grape, I usually don’t find it very exciting on its own. So when I have a glass of Merlot with a little something extra in the flavor department, I say bring it on. I am sure that wine snobs and traditionalists will find some reason to turn up their nose at the Ménage à Trois Lavish Merlot, but then again I doubt that many of them, or more likely any of them, are perusing the CheapWinefinder.com website, so that leaves the rest of us to drink up and enjoy.

 

 

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Don’t tell anyone, but there is absolutely no correlation between the cost of wine and the quality of wine.