We received the product for review and all opinions are our own.
Westcave Cellars is known for producing boutique, handcrafted wines using only Texas fruit.
Estate vines as well as vines from across the Lone Star State provide the fruit for the wine program. Tempranillo is not the staple grape variety chosen by owners/winemakers Allan and Margaret Fetty.
The estate vineyard on the winery property sits in a valley at a lower altitude than some of the surrounding area therefore the temperature is several degrees cooler in the afternoon and evenings. This does aid in the vines resting more at night and in turn produces nice fruit from the Bordeaux family, which are not always known to thrive in certain parts of the state. I have said it before and I will say it again and again, Merlot really surprises me in Texas. It really has adapted well in certain parts of the state and produces gorgeous grapes on vines in our unrelenting summers. We cannot leave them on the vines as long as other parts of the world of course, but nonetheless I am very pleased most of the time when I uncork a bottle and a stellar wine comes out to greet me.
This particular bottle is the Reserve Merlot, 2012 vintage. It is the same grapes and yeast strain as the standard Merlot, but a different barreling program makes this wine noticeably different than its sibling. Allan has exclusively utilized French oak barrels since 2010 when they started making wine. Only recently has American Oak rolled into the winery in very small quantities; we’re talking a handful of barrels. The standard Merlot was aged in French oak only, while the Reserve Merlot spent 12 months in French Oak and another 6 months in just American oak barrels. This yielded a wine with more tannic structure, a bigger mouthfeel, and more dominant baking spices on the nose and palate. I feel this wine is a bit more dynamic versus the standard Merlot.
In my fine stemware, this wine is a deep ruby red with a garnet rim variation. The wine has a medium concentration.
The aromatics fill the air with notes of fig, plumb, black cherries, baking spices, and suede leather. The palate confirms the nose with the addition of tart raspberries, vanilla, and a sprinkle of black pepper. The dusty tannins are prominent and bracing.
- Westcave Cellars Reserve Merlot, 2012 vintage
- Winemaker: Allan Fetty
- Appellation: Texas High Plains AVA, Hendricks Family Vineyard
- Varietals: 100% Merlot
- Barrels: 12 months in French Oak, 6 months in American Oak
- Cases Produced: 50
- Clarity/Brightness: Clear/bright with no detectable flaws and no gas or sediment
- Tannins: Medium plus
- Acidity: Medium
- Alcohol: Medium
- Finish: Medium
- 12.2% alcohol by volume
This Merlot is a medium bodied wine that is fairly versatile. It is smooth enough to be enjoyed on its own, but it would complement a chicken or duck dish and even a grilled sirloin. A pairing we found quite delightful is kettle corn popcorn! We were shocked at how well the two complimented one another. This is a VERY limited release at 50 cases, so stop by and grab a bottle while they are still available.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.