Smashed Grapes Merlot 2003

Price: $8
Maker: Smashed Grapes Cellars, Gonzales, California
Variety: Merlot
Packaging: bottle, screw cap
Our Rating: 8 out of 10

We just found Smashed Grapes Merlot 2003 on the shelf locally, and decided to check it out. With a name like “Smashed Grapes”, we were expecting a fruit forward wine, and weren’t disappointed. The aroma is a mixture of cherry and leather, and the flavor is a plummy berry blend, with balanced tannin and oak. This is a pleasant and accessible wine that will be enjoyed by both casual and somewhat more serious wine drinkers. Its robust flavor will pair well with grilled meats or spicy Italian dishes.

Smashed Grapes is apparently a venture of New York-based Constellation Wines. In a news release, they call it a premium wine targeted at 25 to 34 year old wine drinkers. (Presumably, the casual, fun name is the part that’s supposed to appeal to the younger market.) This isn’t an unreasonable description – this isn’t a bad wine, but its fruity, robust character will appeal even to less sophisticated palates. If you want to show up at a party with a wine that all will enjoy drinking as well as talking about, give this merlot a try.

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