Don Manuel – Single Vineyard Merlot – 2013

Don Manuel – Chile Merlot Red Wine

Little did we know, prior to consumption of this bottle, that November 7 is International Merlot day.  As if we needed another reason to taste a bottle of wine, we figured that this was added incentive to open up a bottle that had been hanging around for a decent amount of time.  For starters, a quick review of our “scanned” wines within Vivino noted that this would be our first Chile Merlot red wine.  Seemed like the best occasion to try out this new wine.

Samson Oliver patio chair
Happy International Merlot Day Everyone

We typically try to note where all of our wine was purchased or came from.  Best we can tell, this wine came from our WSJwine (Wall Street Journal wine membership) account and has been unfortunately been put to the side.  Its neglect was partially due to our mixed feelings on Merlot wines based on previous experiences.  After drinking this wine, we may have to be more open to this wonderful varietal.

Visual: Upon pouring from the bottle, the wine is a medium-ruby color – far lighter than we were expecting from this wine.  The wine is clear and the legs are moderate but do not retain their color upon swirling the wine.  The alcohol content appears to me moderate for this varietal.  The meniscus appears the same as the body of the wine, potentially a hint of brownish color but overall appears to be a younger wine.

Nose: On the nose, we immediately get red fruit with mild spice and black pepper.  The nose appears consistent with the visual appearance of the wine and suggests that red fruits predominate.  There are herbaceous indicators within the nose as green peppers and jalapeños begin to come through after the initial fruit wave.

Taste: The wine is off-dry with a good acidity balance and would be considered a medium-bodied wine.  There are low to medium tannins that are soft in nature.  The wine is well balanced regarding acidity, tannin and sugar.  It has moderate flavor with highlighted notes of red fruit, peppers, and a “meat-like” flavor.  We thought that the peppers were ripe green in character with the meat consistent with raw ground beef.  The wine had a medium-length finish (4-5 secs).

Of note, the wine maker had a completely different description than what we were getting in the wine.  Per the winemaker – there were notes of plum, blackberry and cassias.

We evaluated the wine several times over the course of 2-3 hours but were not getting what was being described – even after reading the winemaker notes.  So Interesting!!

Our Overall Impression:  Don Manuel – Chile Merlot Red Wine

  • The aromas on the wine were quite pronounced – fresh ripe bell peppers were not something we were accustomed to smelling or tasting (a pleasant surprise).
  • The flavor intensity was not quite as clear as the nose of the wine
  • It didn’t remind us of our “typical” Merlot – however, it was a pleasant surprise with good character and medium body

Price: (average price)

Vivino Rating:  3.9 out of 5

Our Rating:  90 out of 100

Tasting Date: 11/7/17

What we paired it with: Turkey Chili

Wine Name – Don Manuel – Single Vineyard

Producer – VLR SA, Chile

Region/appellation – Repel Valley, Chile

Grape Varieties – Merlot

Vintage – 2013

Alcohol – 14%

Barrel – French Oak


    1. Hi Scott –
      They have not always been our favorite but they offer an alternative to Cabernet and Malbec. I think the high tannin nature and more forward fruit notes have left us with a bad impression. However, with this Merlot it was balanced quite nicely and wasn’t overpowering. We will definitely revisit some different Merlots from potentially different locations.

  1. I am not a wine connoisseur, far from it although I do enjoy a glass of light red wine at times.

    I found it very interesting reading your analysis of this particular Merlot. I’ve just realized the work and study necessary to achieve success as a producer of fine wine.

    I love your website and I’m sure many others do too. Particularly those who have a desire to increase their knowledge in the business of wine production and distribution.

    1. HI Valerie –
      Thanks for you kind remarks. Indeed, becoming a wine connoisseur is essentially a dedication of our life. If interested I would check out the movie Somm – it is a documentary of 4 Sommeliers undergoing the training to achieve the highest ranking within the wine world: becoming a Master Sommelier. It was well put together and really shows the dedication these people have. Would recommend take a view of the movie with a nice light red wine as you mentioned!!

      Thanks again for your comments. We are always trying to help educate people interested in learning more!
      Best -adam

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