Wine Wednesday – 2011 Bonterra Merlot

Hello, hello!

It’s Wednesday and you know what that means!!

wine gif


I decided to try something different for this week’s wine review – an organic wine!

Okay, okay, fine. It was on sale.


But really, I was interested anyway.

I mean, I wanted to see if I could discern a difference in taste – much like I can taste the difference in the beef I used to buy at the grocery store and the local farm raised beef I now buy at the farmer’s market.

In general, in my opinion, foods that are produced locally (whether that means it’s a cucumber grown in your back yard, your neighbor’s yard, or by the farmer down the road) taste better than some foods that you can pick up in your grocery store/supermarket.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not discounting grocery store produce. I LOVE the produce I get at Harris Teeter! Next year, though, I’m growing my own.

My mom used to have a garden when my sister and I were little and I remember her sending us out to pick the sugar snaps.

Pretty sure we ate more than ended up in our baskets!

But, I digress…..

I grabbed this lovely bottle of merlot from Bonterra Organic Vineyards.



Bonterra’s grapes are considered organic because they use organic growing techniques like composting and cover crops (other plants planted between the rows of grape vines that help keep the soil loose and prevent run-off).

According to their Web site, they rely on the assistance of farm animals to help “mow” the grass and keep the insects at a minimum.

I have visions of Gonzo’s chickens hanging out and picnicking in the vineyards.



I uncorked that baby and poured myself a glass.


I really need to find a better place to take my wine pictures. #justsayin

I gave it a swirl and a good sniff and was pleased with what my nose was telling me.

I smelled yummy fruit and some vanilla-y spiciness.

Sometimes I have trouble discerning the specific fruits but I definitely smelled some cherry and maybe some berries. I’m usually pretty spot on with vanilla and oakiness.

Whatever it was, it smelled delicious!



The color was dark and fruity but not inky like a heavier zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon might be.

Sometimes, it can be quite mesmerizing to swirl, sniff, and drink with your eyes. 🙂  Just don’t forget to breathe regular every now and then otherwise your carpet might end up drinking the wine.


As for flavor, this Merlot was pretty doggone tasty.

Merlots tend to be fruity and soft. Sometimes, this can give them a bad reputation – some people say they all taste the same, I say those people are clearly missing taste buds.

This Merlot tasted of soft, elegant fruit (kinda made me want to tip my pinky up a little, in a non-snobbish but fancy sort of way) and silkiness  with some spicy undertones. Like, the spice didn’t make the back of my throat tickle and the tannins didn’t make my mouth want to dry out but I could sense them both there.

Did that EVEN make sense?

What I’m trying to say is – it was YUM!

Now, as for the organic difference? Well, I didn’t really notice much of a difference. But, that’s probably because I wasn’t directly comparing it to a non-organically produced Merlot.

(although, honestly, how are all these other vineyards growing their grapes if they’re not composting, etc?)

What I did notice is that I enjoyed it and I would happily drink it again.

Except we drank it all already.

Road trip!

Talk to me: Have you ever had organically grown wine? Did you notice a taste difference? Do you have a garden? What do you grow?

– jennifer