The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Movia and Bodega Chacra

Posted on | October 1, 2014 | Written by Crystal Edgar | No Comments

Crystal 2014Merlot is either adored or overlooked by wine aficionados as many complain its lack of sophistication when compared to other noble varieties. I beg to differ as Merlot has more depth than meets the eye (or lips in this case.) A bit of a chameleon, this grape offers a myriad of flavors and textures based on the location of vineyards, temperature, the time of harvest and the winemaker’s technique. Merlot is blended within just about all of the greatest wines in Bordeaux and, depending on the style, can range from soft, smooth and fruit forward to austere, earthy and tannic. It is grown across the globe and accounts for 600,000 acres worldwide.

Sadly the grape was chastised in 2004 when a character from the movie Sideways gave a memorably negative assessment of merlot in just two script lines, pushing it off of its pedestal in many markets. Sure there are wines that give every grape a bad name, but we choose not waste our time on those unfortunate examples. Not only has Merlot allowed many novice enthusiasts to develop their palate for wine in early years but also has provided serious collectors to cellar some of the most prestigious and powerful wines of all time, Petrus and Masseto to name a few.

Looking through our cellar, I came across a few biodynamic Merlot that I would like to place in the spotlight today. Both wines are beautiful, unique and natural expressions of the grape, articulating the regions’ distinctive terroir while sharing a bit of the passion and talent of the hands they were crated from. Offering exceptional quality and value, these bottles will fit just about any occasion and pair beautifully with a range of fall and winter favorites.

Bodega Chacra Mainque Merlot 2010 $42.50

Bodega Chacra is something of a dynastic operation. The estate is the project of Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, a young man from the family of Super Tuscan, Sassicaia. His Mainque Merlot is polished with impressive concentration, depth and length. Dark, almost brooding fruit, a subtle humidor of smokiness, and a tempting savory meatiness make the biodynamically produced Mainque stand apart from the crowd.

Movia Merlot 2004 $39.99

Movia has long been committed to biodynamic agriculture, the practice that is beyond organic and one that works with the power of the sun, the planets and the earth to cultivate plants and, in Movia’s case, to make wines. Deriving from almost 70-year-old vines, this unusually dense, jammy Merlot is picked late and macerated until all sugar is fermented, and then it ages in barriques on its lees and is bottled. This dry, fruit-forward interpretation of Merlot puts its earthy, woodsy foot forward in a lively body that excites the senses with its lively yet smooth and gentle palate of juicy red fruit, fresh-cut herbs, minerals and spice.

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