Silver Fork Merlot — Wine Review

Tonight’s wine took us by a bit of a surprise.  The Silver Fork Merlot can definitely change one’s opinion that the east coast doesn’t produce good Merlot.  Normally when you think of Merlot, you imagine a big bold red wine with a complex yet robust profile and distinctive characteristics.  Typically, you would be right.  This particular bottle of the 2012 Merlot from Silver Fork is anything but “typical”.  

After pouring the wine into a decanter, I sampled it immediately (I like to know what I’m getting into).  My first impression was something of a shock.  Did I open a Mourvedre on accident?  I double checked the bottle and found that I did in fact open the Merlot.  So I sipped again; this time I closed my eyes and let my sense of smell and taste take over.  Upon first sniff, I noted a light cranberry aroma mixed with a bit of dried grass.  The flavors were subtle and shifty moving from faint raspberry into a more robust boxy flavor.  I decided that it was indeed a Merlot.  So I finished my sample and placed the decanter on the table to await dinner.

With the food, we were even more perplexed.  Under more proper lighting, we noted the wine was a bit more cloudy (not in a bad way but in an “unfiltered” way) and definitely not as deep and dark as one would expect.  Pairing it with the grilled turkey mini-meatloafs intensified the meaty notes of the wine and made it seem almost juicy.  We continued to eat and drink the wine all the while pondering how a Merlot could change itself so much.

Dinner soon ended and with that came the cleanup one normally associates with a home-cooked meal.  This meant more time in the decanter for the wine and more time for our taste buds to brush off any remaining food flavors.  By this time, the wine has been open for nearly two hours.  Plenty of time to take in some oxygen and relax.  The nose has developed a bit more, exposing the red berries and vegetative notes.  The tannins have developed as well, however it is still not as bold as most Merlot.

Overall impressions of the Silver Fork Merlot are favorable.  It is delicious and delightful.  It is easy to drink and very approachable.  I would recommend the wine and I trust our next bottle will be just as enjoyable.

Check out our other NC Wine Month postings:

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Posted by Matt Kemberling

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