Gato Negro Merlot 2007

Gato Negro MerlotPrice: $5
Maker: Viña San Pedro S. A., Molina, Chile
Varietal: Merlot
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, natural cork
Alcohol: 13.5%
Our Rating: 8 out of 10

Gato Negro Merlot 2007 was an inexpensive find at a megastore wine shop. Its label reminded me of some of the great Trader Joe bargains I’d tried last year, but the wine itself didn’t quite measure up. It had an odd aroma that had woody licorice notes overpowering weak berry notes. The flavor was also a bit odd, with plum, herb, and chocolate notes. If this wine has a redeeming feature, it’s the long finish that brings out some spice, more pleasant berry notes, and robust tannins. Gato Negro Merlot wasn’t entirely unpleasant, but was lacking in typical Merlot characteristics.

We did find that this wine was helped by extensive breathing when half a bottle was accidentally left uncorked overnight. I was expecting the worst when I next tasted it, but the wine had actually improved a bit.

Viña San Pedro is a significant player:

Founded in 1865 by the Correa Albano brothers, Viña San Pedro is today the second largest Chilean wine exporter and the country’s third biggest winery. The winery and is located in Curicó Valley, where San Pedro owns one of the largest continuous area of vineyards in South America, with 1,200 hectares. In total San Pedro has over 2,500 hectares planted all along the Central Valley. Since 1990 the company has long term contracts and has been acquiring vineyards in Chile’s other main viticulture valleys, such as Leyda, Colchagua, Maipo, San Antonio, Casablanca, Elqui and Limarí. Today these vineyards provide perfect conditions for several varieties.

VSP is present in almost 80 markets on all five continents with its brands Cabo de Hornos, 1865, Castillo de Molina, 35°South, and GatoNegro. This wide brand portfolio allows it to target a great variety of consumers throughout the world.

Gato Negro Merlot won’t make our favorites list, but we look forward to tasting some other products from this Chilean winery.

5 thoughts on “Gato Negro Merlot 2007”

  1. I happen to like this inexpensive wine and bought a bottle of GatoNegro at a local store for a small price and it did not have the harsh after taste that most of the Merlot; that I have tasted. I found that it was fine and fresh upfront and very mild after. It is not a sweet wine, but very much like most of the Merlot wines I tasted. It does heavy woody licorice notes, but for the price of the wine it is forgiving.

    I would be willing to serve it to my friends at a small get together and wish that the store had a larger supply, since I have bought several bottles. It seems that someone else has a taste for the Merlot, there were only two bottles left on the shelf an I got them.

  2. I find many folks are keen to drink a less costly bottle immediately, but after shelving an ’07 of Gato Negro Merlot until just this evening… wow. Reviews around the web from 2008 complain of features characteristic of a young wine, especially potent in a full bodied varietal like this. However, as is typical of the big and bolds, this one aged well for 2-3 years.

    A leathery nose with berry undertones, this complex glass boasts a rich palate of jammy flavours and subtle cream notes, finishing with well balanced tannins and a lingering vanilla aroma. Great with fowl, would probably be dwarfed a bit by bolder red meats. Give it a go – its worth it.

  3. I usually buy Barefoot Merlot but I accidentally picked up a bottle of GatoNegro as the packaging colors of Barefoot and GatoNegro are the same.

    I am pleasantly surprised how much I love GatoNegro. It must be the taste of plum that I
    have always loved.

    I shop by bulk at BJ’s Warehouse, here in Tampa,
    Florida where I live. The shelves are stocked real good with all products. Shop there and save money too. Bottoms up.

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