I had the opportunity to visit Whitehall Lane Winery and Vineyards in March when we were in Napa. Located in St. Helena, they produce about 45,000 cases per year made by their winemaker ‘Dean’ who has actually spent wine time here in British Columbia – specifically Vancouver Island and Saltspring Island.
While there, we enjoyed a memorable tour including long and detailed discussions about trellising systems and vines. Filled my inner wine geek boots, they did. I also came away with a few of their very cool glass ‘vino seals’ that I’ve used several times since, especially on my white wines. Note -get these when/if you visit them.
I purchased a couple of bottles and was tres pleased to be able to crack the 2010 Merlot this rain drenched (shocker, not) summer Vancouver evening to go with our bbq steak.
This wine is clear and bright, deep ruby and has solid legs noted. On the nose, it’s clean and developing with a medium plus intensity of blueberries, boysenberries, a touch of black pepper spice and ripe Damson plums.
The palate is dry with medium plus acidity, seriously silky smooth tannins with just the right amount of grip – ever so gentle, yet present – high alcohol and a voluptuous and full body. The flavours are medium plus and consist of more blue and black fruit – blueberries, boysenberries, and blackberries, purple plums, field berries, black spice, a little oak and topped with a touch of fig. The finish is long.
This is WSET ‘very good’ wine; the alcohol is a undoubtedly high and takes a while to blow off, but the fruit and acidity are solid and the length outstanding alongside the seriously gorgeous tannins. A juicy and full Merlot that would have Miles turning over in his proverbial grave. Well, you get the point.
And just in case you don’t, click on this refresher – I’m not drinking any #@!& Merlot!