Today Blind Muscat has a wine to plug that goes against two major trends in the contemporary wine scene. First, it’s a wine with a cute concept behind it that is actually cute; and second, it’s a cute concept wine that’s pretty darn tasty.
The bottle in question is the Me Merlot from Wines of Substance in Walla Walla Washington. (I always want to say, “Walla Walla Washington Washington.”) The “Me” name could be taken as a sly commentary on the narcissism epidemic, but is in fact the winery’s chemical element-like abbreviation for Merlot, part of the “Periodic Table of Wines” from Washington State the label aspires to bottle. (Think “em ee,” not “me.”) The plan is produce affordable varietal wines from each of the 30 or so grapes currently grown in Washington, gradually filling in the periodic table.
Maybe it’s my inner geek speaking, but this strikes me as clever.
Meanwhile, the whole table with all its grapeworthy abbreviations shows up on the website and is a hoot and a half. I defy anybody to go there without poking and prodding and clicking and flipping the home page; http://winesofsubstance.com/.
By the time I got around to asking for samples, the Mb (Malbec) was already sold out, but I scored the Re (Riesling) and the Me. The Riesling was fine. I stuck the Me into a tasting of stray Cabernets this past Saturday, and it showed more stuffing that several Cabs, including a pair of single-vineyard Sonoma efforts listing for nearly three times the Me’s $18 price.
The Me is another entry in the growing ranks of really good, medium-priced Merlot—plenty of berry-plum fruit, refreshing acidity, enough tannin structure to be taken seriously and to make visions of substantial food dance in the brain. Merlot grapegrowing and winemaking seems to be getting better at the same time that its dip in reputation is making good grapes cheaper—a happy coincidence for wine drinkers.
Wines of substance, indeed.
Price: $18.00 suggested retail. Alcohol: 13.9%. Points: Bonus points if you can name all the grapes shown on the Substance website just from the letters, without looking at the fine print. Full disclosure: freebie sample.