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Featured Reviews

Charles Smith ‘The Velvet Devil’ Washington State Merlot 2015

22 May,2018

Charles Smith Wines is a Washington State brand that comes under the Constellation Brands umbrella, acquired in 2016, and is one of the more individual. The wines are funky and distinctive in presentation and come under founder Charles Smith’s ‘The Modernist Project’ which focusses on making wines that taste of their variety and vineyard, and are ready to enjoy immediately on release. This is a philosophy developed from being a self-taught winemaker that dealt directly with his customers. I reviewed three Charles Smith wines at the end of last year, and was impressed by their quality (click here to see my reviews). Here, I review the 2015 ‘The Velvet Devil’ Merlot. The wine is distributed in New Zealand by Constellation Brands.


Charles Smith ‘The Velvet Devil’ Washington State Merlot 2015

Merlot from USA


Full, dark, deep ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the edge with slight garnet hues. The bouquet is full, open and broad with accessible aromas of savoury dark-red plum fruit along with berry fruits, a soft, earthy layering and nuances of dried herbs. This has a deep core with red fruits, notes of game and lifted red floral suggestions. Medium-full bodied, the palate is softly rich, and gently sweet and succulent with flavours of savoury, earthy dark-red plums and berried fruits, nuances of dried herbs and a little floral lift. The fruit forms a rounded core and is supported by light, fine tannin extraction. The wine flows along a fine-textured, near-velvety line, with soft acidity, leading to a sweet finish with red fruits and earthy elements. This is a soft, open and accessible Merlot with flavours of savoury, earthy plums forming a good, smooth-flowing core. Match with slow-cooked game meat and casseroles over the next 4+ years. A blend of 84% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Other varieties, from Washington State, fermented partially by indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 30% new French oak. 17.5+/20 May 2018 RRP $21.99

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