Dueling Merlots

Dueling Merlots 1
Dueling Merlots 2

Recently during a layover at Newark Airport, we took a little time to enjoy some wine. The restaurant, Proof, was located in the center aisle between the gates. Although it was essentially in the middle of the walkway, it was surprisingly relaxed and chill. This part of the airport must have been recently remodeled because you placed your order on iPads, at your table, and could even pay with your frequent flyer miles!

As I read through the wine descriptions, there were a couple of Merlots that caught my eye. Maybe I was thinking about International Merlot Day on 11/7. (http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/2014/11/drinking-international-merlot-day/) Neil and I thought it would be fun to compare the two California wines. We could look for the differences between the terroir of Santa Lucia Highlands and Napa Valley.

We tasted both of these wines:

Hahn Estate, Santa Lucia, 2012

Burgess, Napa Valley, 2010

The Hahn Estate Merlot seemed like it might be lighter, by the color, so we tasted that wine first. I noticed a light fruit aroma that reminded me of raspberry, as well as an aroma that made me think the wine would be dry. Neil was surprised when he picked up smoky aromas. He also found it to be peppery and it reminded him of a Zinfandel, although it was definitely the color he would expect from a Merlot. When I tasted the wine, it was dry, as I expected, with some spice, prune and cherry flavors. Neil found it to have flavors of pepper and plum. He said he hasn’t had a good merlot lately but really liked that one!

The second Merlot, by Burgess, smelled amazing to me, with so many berry aromas. It seemed like a berry salad! Neil agreed that it had lots of fruit. This one was definitely different than the first because it smelled like it would be softer. I guess the texture wasn’t full bodied either because it tasted kind of light. I noticed spice and more berry flavors, as well as the long legs from the alcohol content. Neil picked up boysenberry and blackberry fruits with a hint of alcohol. I really preferred this one which kind of surprised me since it was from Napa Valley. In the past, I remember liking the Santa Lucia Highlands wines quite a bit.

After we finished up our tasting notes, we sat back, sipping our preferred Merlot, and enjoyed the rest of our relaxation time, before flying off to Florida.

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