RJ Cole Winery

Insights into the world of an amateur home winemaker.

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Cole Wines anagrams to Senile Cow.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Side by Side Tasting

Last night I was over at Kat's house and we decided to have a glass of wine. I had an open bottle of my VR Merlot, and she wanted some of her Fat Bastard Merlot. I decided this was a perfect opportunity to compare mmy wine to commercial wine. I knew the commercial wine would be better, but I wanted to take the chance to see where mine was lacking so perhaps it could be improved.

The Fat Bastard was dry, had a decent body with some heft to it, very smooth, not terribly astringent, and finished clean. There actually wasn't a whole lot of flavor in it. To me it was definitely lacking in fruit flavor and tannins. But all in all, it was a good merlot.

Mine was fruit forward yet dry, had almost zero body to it, bit back a little bit - especially with mouth-puckering astringency, and finished with a bite. Overall, it needs some work. I really liked the fruit forward flavor without it being too sweet and the tannins, but it lacked in everything else... a lot.

The one thing that impressed me was that the 2 things I thought were missing from the commercial wine were precisely the 2 things I liked about mine. Bias? Quite possibly. But as I'm still learning how to taste wine properly, I can't be sure.

Will my merlot improve with age? I hope so. It is very young still. The kit it came from is marketed as a 4 to 6 week wine kit, meaning 4 to six weeks from the box to the glass. Of course, they do say that it will be even better if it ages. I started this wine a few months ago, but I didn't degas it properly, and it's only been bottled for a few weeks. (The bottle from which I tasted had been degassed thoroughly.) It's my strong hope that this one, as it ages, will mellow out, with the tannins, fruit, and alcohol bonding together to produce more body and less bite. If that happens, I will try another side by side comparison and see how it compares then.

Oh, as far as the other aspects of how wine is judged, my merlot was crystal clear with a beautiful ruby red color, while the Fat Bastard Merlot was a black hole, letting no light escape from it. And as I have been having some allergy problems lately, I couldn't smell a thing from either of the wines.


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