Cusumano Merlot

€16.99, O’Brien’s

Source: www.obrienswine.ie

Source: www.obrienswine.ie

It’s very rare that we get to taste pure Merlot even in a wine that is alledgedly made from 100% Merlot grapes. Here we get the fruit, the whole fruit and nothing but the fruit in a wine of exceptional varietal purity from relatively high altitude vineyards in Sicily (which means it doesn’t get wildly over-ripe). The tannins are subtle and round, as you would expect, and the fruit is plummy, ripe but poised, balanced with just enough acidity.

It makes an interesting exercise to compare this red wine with, say, a Saint-Emillion from Bordeaux where the Merlot is joined by Cabernet, either Sauvignon or Franc or sometimes both. In that company the varietal character of this wine really shines through but, on the other hand, the main thing is that it’s just a delicious, quite modern, nicely balanced mouthful of red wine.