Merlot reminds me of the pretty girl or handsome guy that gets grief for being too nice and not edgy enough. Is being a luscious, smooth, infinitely drinkable, classic red wine such a bad thing? Certainly not! Well-made Merlot is undeniably lovely but when this grape is nurtured by a talented winemaker, it also displays great finesse, power, and structure. If you've been guilty of ignoring Merlot, make amends by pouring a glass of Vistorta.
Count Brandino Brandolini d'Adda, owner of Vistorta, is a Venetian-born graduate of Texas A&M University and the University of Bordeaux. Committed to the science and artistry of winemaking, Brandolini transitioned the estate to organic farming and Vistorta has been certified organic since 2009.
Merlot is most closely identified with Bordeaux (France) but Vistorta's wines show that it can also flourish in north-east Italy in the Friuli region. Vistorta's commitment to producing Merlot was actually inspired by time that the estate owner, Count Brandino Brandolini d’Adda, spent at Château Greysac in Bordeaux. The Vistorta estate, located just 25 miles north of Venice, has been under the care of the Brandolini family since 1780 and for the past 35 years Count Brandolini has devoted himself to Merlot. That commitment and knowledge has led to the creation of some pretty fantastic wines. To get started, I recommend the Vistorta 2007.
Vistorta Merlot 2007 ($22.99)
Silky with balanced tannins and acidity, Vistorta 2007 has delicious flavors of rich plum and dark cherry with a hint of spice, earth, and a subtle minerality. Vistorta 2007 is a great example of how expressive Merlot can be. The 2006 and 2004 vintages are also available at the same price point and share a common thread of rich fruit balanced by varying degrees of earth, herbal,and spice notes.
To learn more about Vistorta, visit their website.