My family took good care of me on my birthday but left the wine selection to me, so for my special day I grabbed a bottle of pricey Italian merlot.
The 2001 Falesco Montiano comes from the Italian region of Lazio. Spicy and aromatic, white pepper and smokey leathery notes greet you first but lots going on here - tarry blackberry, cedar, currant, green nuts, rose petals - an olfactory fiesta. Very dry on the palate with big tannins and crisp cherry fruit on the mid-palate. A brutish merlot, with extraordinary length, it is awkward now and needs a few more years in the cellar to settle down. It worked well with a wintery beef stew, but a steak (I'm thinking Moishes) off the grill would be better.
cork. 13.5% alcohol
Price: C$45.90 (SAQ)
Note that I served this wine at a blinded tasting nearly three years ago and it didn't show well. I recall it having a nice nose but being rather simple (it was not the brute I poured tonight) and needing more time in the cellar. I was not expecting the brute I opened tonight - I have to get another bottle and stick it away...