We received the product for review and all opinions are our own.
As falls sets in, and winter quickly approaches, many of us switch our brains and palates to “red wine mode.” The summer was filled with thirst quenching high acid whites, and refreshing dry rosé wines. Now the cooler weather conjures images of a roaring fireplace, and hearty red wines to warm the palate and soothe the soul. Just a week or two ago I wrote an article about Merlot, and the love it commands from wine drinkers around the world. It turns out we received a bottle of Merlot just in time to follow up on that article, and to put more liquid behind the words. Merlot is such a versatile grape that can be both inspiring, and mind boggling at the same time. I was excited to crack open this youthful vintage, so let’s get on with the review shall we?
We received a bottle of 2015 Merlot from Little Black Dress wines, and I felt compelled to drink this wine while wearing my favorite pair of pajamas, curled up on the couch to watch Finding Dory with my wife. After all, this is a winery whose mission is to produce that bottle of wine we all want to curl up with at the end of the day. Little Black Dress (LBD) wines is based in Mendocino County in northern California, in the North Coast AVA. For a wine priced at $12.00, it is easy to prejudge that bottle before even looking at the label. However, we should all know better than that, right?
Once the cork is removed, the wine pours into the glass a deep garnet, with a slight magenta rim. The nose tosses around notes of baked cherries, raspberries, and leather. The palate confirms the nose with a pinch of bell pepper, chocolate, and a dash of smokiness on the tongue. This wine is dark, sensual, and smooth. For a 2015 vintage, the wine is obviously very young. I’ll say I was a bit taken aback at how drinkable it is for such a new bottling.
- Little Black Dress Merlot, 2015 vintage
- Winemaker: Margaret Leonardi
- Appellation: California
- Grape varieties: 78% Merlot, 12% Zinfandel, 10% other complementary red varieties
- Clarity/brightness: Clear/bright with no detectable flaws, and no evidence of gas or sediment
- Tannins: Medium
- Acidity: Medium
- Alcohol: Medium
- Finish: Medium plus
- Alcohol by volume: 13.5%
- Retail price: $11.99 per bottle at the time of review
I pulled a quote from the LBD website that sums up their philosophy in winemaking:
“We all have go-tos. Those shoes, that necklace, the book you’ve read three times. You don’t have to think twice about it. In our eyes, it’s flawless. We made Little Black Dress to be an accessory for every occasion. Every spontaneous party. Every late night perched on the kitchen counter catching up with friends.”
This bottle of wine was brilliantly surprising. I’ll admit, for a $12.00 bottle of wine, I expected meh… a wine that was tight and uninspiring. To the contrast, this wine was complex, smooth, extracted, and well balanced. The blend serves it well, and this wine is totally drinking very well already, but it could definitely cellar for another several years while continuing to improve. Pair this wine with your favorite roasted chicken recipe, and of course with your favorite pair of flats.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.