Merlot: one noble grape

Christmas being the perfect season for self-indulgence, I resolved (early in December) to release from my modest wine-cellar something lovely for Christmas. One of the oldies, but not too costly, I had reasoned; so I looked through the candidates and decided on a 1998 Pomerol – my singleton bottle of Château Franc-Maillet.

On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, I took time out to taste the wine with friends. Earlier in the day, the cork had come out beautifully clean and smelt young and fresh. The wine, too, seemed youthful, with acid and sweet cinnamon prominent – especially at first. There was certainly plenty of fruit – cherries as well as plums. 

Later in the day, the dense complex of flavours began to unfurl, including chocolate and coffee, and some savoury notes were apparent. “It’s the best red I’ve ever tasted,” one friend ventured.

Sampling the wine over three days, I was able to experience and enjoy its development. And it was an ideal accompaniment to my evening meal on Christmas Day: hot-smoked salmon in a creamy Alfredo sauce with fresh egg pasta and a medley of green vegetables.   Continue reading