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Il Vescovino Il Merlotto 1997

Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
  • WS91
  • RP90
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Deep purple-black in color with a spicy nose that shows mature fruit and wood. Very full and rich on the palate, velvety smooth and ultimately enjoyable with a lingering finish. A wine of great integrity. Recommended with red meats, particularly steak. Also recommended with game and hearty stews.

"The 1997 Il Merlotto is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 2-year old French barrels. Its opaque ruby/purple color is followed by a sumptuously ripe nose of blackberries, cherry liqueur, and toast. Deep, full-bodied, and rich, with a layered, low acid, chewy texture, and an intense, lightly tannic finish, it can be drunk over the next 10-12 years."
Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

Critical Acclaim

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WS 91
Wine Spectator
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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Il Vescovino

Il Vescovino

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Il Vescovino, Tuscany, Italy
Il Vescovino, owned by Riccardo Gosi, produces 10,000 bottles of estate-bottled premium quality Chianti Classico and Super Tuscan wines. The wines are hand punched during fermentation and aged in French oak barrels.

One of the most iconic Italian regions for wine, scenery and history, Tuscany is the world’s most important outpost for the Sangiovese grape. Ranging in style from fruity and simple to complex and age-worthy, Sangiovese makes up a significant percentage of plantings here, with the white Trebbiano Toscano coming in second.

Within Tuscany, many esteemed wines have their own respective sub-zones, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The climate is Mediterranean and the topography consists mostly of picturesque rolling hills, scattered with vineyards.

Sangiovese at its simplest produces straightforward pizza-friendly wines with bright and juicy red fruit, but at its best it shows remarkable complexity and ageability. Top-quality Sangiovese-based wines can be expressive of a range of characteristics such as sour cherry, balsamic, dried herbs, leather, fresh earth, dried flowers, anise and tobacco. Brunello expresses well the particularities of vintage variations and is thus popular among collectors. Chianti is associated with tangy and food-friendly dry wines at various price points. A more recent phenomenon as of the 1970s is the “Super Tuscan”—a wine made from international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, with or without Sangiovese. These are common in Tuscany’s coastal regions like Bolgheri, Val di Cornia, Carmignano and the island of Elba.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. But the grape also has enough stuffing to make serious, world-renowned wines. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, in St. Emilion and Pomerol, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

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 permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

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.

HNYIVOIMO97C_1997 Item# 55303