As my passion for wine has grown exponentially, my friends and family no longer gift me wine (I didn't know I was that scary!). It's too bad, as I always appreciate the gifts, especially when they take me "out of my zone" and get me to try new grapes, regions and price points. Both of tonight's wines were exemplary gifts - a merlot-based wine from the Bordeaux appellation of Pomerol and a merlot from South Africa's Stellenbosch region.
The 1998 Jean-Pierre Moueix Pomerol was a surprising gift - I did not know Moueix (owners of a little Chateau called Petrus) made a generic Pomerol, I would not have expected someone to cellar it for ten years, and if they had I wouldn't expect them to give it to me! (many thanks, John) Spearmint and mushrooms appear first on the nose, very earthy, vegetal, and mushroomy as well - subtler, but just as intriguing as the Meerlust below. Very Pomerol on the palate - soft and elegant with black peppery fruit. Despite ten years in the cellar it still showed a good long finish, nice tannins and fresh acidity. Nicely done, and you could stick it back in the cellar for a few more years.
cork. 13% alcohol
Knowing my love of Meerlust's Rubicon, my friend Andreas insisted that I take home a bottle of the 2000 Meerlust Merlot (nice of him to tell me about it AFTER he bought every bottle in the province). A wild nose that was, well, very South African - animally/barnyardy at first, green pepper and blackberry, mint and leather, wet coffee grounds and black pepper - very pretty, very complex. An animal on the palate as well, with substantial fruit framed by good acidity, but the tannins are harsh at present. A very long finish, I fear this wine is going to need a few more years to soften, but there is so much there I think you will be well rewarded for your patience.
cork. 13.3% alcohol
Many thanks for the gifts, my friends! (now if only that were a 1998 Petrus...)