kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits, travel & lifestyle writer / wine educator


Sour cherries in a glass

As part of a piece I am currently writing about South African wines, I tried a 2002 Bilton Merlot over the weekend ($20.99 in PA Wine and Spirits Stores, not sure about availability in the DC area.)

I was expecting typical jammy Merlot-like flavors. What I got instead was a mouthful of sour cherries. This isn't necessary a bad thing. Sangiovese-based wines like Chianti are ful of that sour cherry and dusty earth flavor, and Pinot Noirs from cooler sites like New Zealand and Burgundy can also exhibit a sour cherry/cranberry flavor. It was just unexpected. It certainly had gobs of zingy acidity, but I just wish it had had a bit more fruit and structure. It was a 2002, and I don't think it needs any more bottle ageing--it's as good as it's going to get.

Anyway, if sour red wines are your thing, seek it out. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it.