Ecco Domani Merlot 2000
This wine clearly attests to the rising notoriety of the Merlot in general, and Italian Merlot in particular, by offering a complex, full-flavored style but without the more astringent tannins characteristic of Cabernet Sauvignon. Ruby red in color, with aromas of currants and cherries, Ecco Domani Merlot offers supple plum and black cherry flavors on the palate, and a ripe, rich finish.
The vibrant flavors and good acidity of this Merlot make it an excellent match with a wide range of foods, including tomato-based pasta dishes, grilled meats, poultry, and marinated grilled vegetables.
Young Italian winemaker Fabrizio Gatto and his colleagues scour Italy's premier growing regions for wines that express the best characteristics of their areas. Those wines are then fashioned into final blends and sent to Trento, Italy, where they are bottled in a state-of-the-art facility. The Ecco Domani wines that ultimately arrive in the U.S. exhibit the best of what Italy has to offer.
"By choosing the very best grapes from the finest regions of Italy, it is possible for us to craft exquisite wines with marvelous complexity. The intricate fruit flavors which result in the finished wines are unsurpassed, and marry well with a variety of superb cuisines," says Fabrizio Gatto.
Since the debut of Ecco Domani wines in 1996, it has become the leading premium Italian brand in the United States.
Trentino, the southern half, is primarily Italian-speaking and largely responsible for the production of non-native, international grapes. There is a significant quantity of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Merlot produced. But Trentino's native and most unique red variety, Teroldego, while still rare, is gaining popularity. It produces a deeply colored red wine rich in wild blackberry, herb, coffee and cocoa.
The rugged terrain of German-speaking Alto Adige (also referred to as Südtirol) focuses on small-scale viticulture, with great value placed on local varieties—though international varieties have been widely planted since the 1800s. Sheltered by the Alps from harsh northerly winds, many of the best vineyards are at extreme altitude but on steep slopes to increase sunlight exposure.
The primary white grapes are Pinot grigio, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot blanc, as well as smaller plantings of Sauvignon blanc, Müller Thurgau. These tend to be bright and refreshing with crisp acidity and just the right amount of texture. Some of the highest quality Pinot grigio in Italy is made here.
An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot can be made into a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the best wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol where it is blended with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly from California’s Napa Valley.
Tasting Notes for Merlot
Merlot is a dry, red wine known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry and raspberry. From cool climates, Merlot wines will express earthy and herbal notes, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.
Perfect Food Pairings for Merlot
Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity are a hit with pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.
Sommelier Secrets for Merlot
Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot with Cabernet Franc.