I've stated many times that I will always skew old world in my wine tastes. France, Spain and especially Italy produce the most types of wine that I love. Because of that, the so called "international" varietals like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon can sometimes fall by the wayside when it comes to my wine consciousness. I just always gravitate toward indigenous grapes when I'm shopping. Cabernet and Merlot of course are indigenous to France in the form of Bordeaux blends and these wines are often world class with the price tag to match. Thus, they sometimes slip past my frame of everyday wine reference. In Italy, these two international varietals are rarer, but still make some world class wines. Tenuta San Guido's Cabernet based "Sassicaia" and Castello di Ama's Merlot "L'Apparita" are examples of collector worthy wines.
But today I've got a truly delicious $12.99 Merlot/Cabernet blend from the Veneto region of Italy for you. Maculan is a wonderful producer whose whites I have enjoyed many times. But when I got to finally taste this entry level red comprised of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet, I was truly impressed. From gravelly soils and aged half in barrel and half in stainless for 12 months, this wine delivers the goods. Plum and smokey cherry aromas are supported by earth and herbal notes, a nuance I always look for from Cabernet. The flavors are fruity and bold and finish quite long with spice and earth notes. Imported by one of my favorites, Winebow, this is one you Cab and Merlot lovers should seek out. Cheers.