3 Blind Moose Merlot 2003

3 blind moose merlotPrice: $8
Maker: 3 Blind Moose Cellars, Woodbridge, California
Variety: Merlot
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, artificial cork
Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10

We sampled yet another “critter” wine, 3 Blind Moose Merlot 2003. This informal-looking wine starts with a bright yellow cork emblazoned with a moose wearing sunglasses, but noting, “No Shades Required.” (The label has three moose in huddled around a wine barrel in a wine cellar sampling with abandon.) The nose offers spicy blackberries, and the flavor is a fruity mix of cherry and plum. Oak and tannins are present but modest and don’t overwhelm the rich fruitiness. The finish is long and spicy.

In keeping with the fun, informal, theme, the 3 Blind Moose website is a relaxed affair, with a section labeled “Amoosement” and plenty of logo gear to purchase. They comment on the 2003 harvest:

The 2003 vintage was a great one for Merlot. A cool, wet, downright nasty spring resulted in a reduced crop, which is bad for growers but good for wine lovers because it concentrates flavors in the remaining berries. Summer was mild and dry, with September heat spells accelerating ripening and ensuring fully mature, well-educated grapes at harvest.

Virginie’s Wineblog says, “Smooth palate showing black cherry flavors, plum with a leathery texture and a touch of spice such as cedar. Very round, supple tannins and oaky flavors on the finish.”

If you are looking for a $10 or so Merlot that competes well with Australian merlots from both a flavor and image standpoint, Three Blind Moose Merlot could be the ticket.

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