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Today we are going to review a single-varietal merlot wine from the Dealurile Olteniei region, a wine that has achieved an almost legendary status over the years – Merlot Rezerva Ordinul de Malta 2016 by Prince Stirbey. Merlot is usually regarded as the lesser sibling to the highly priced cabernet sauvignon or cabernet franc varieties, but make no mistake, merlot wine is first class as it is more versatile, ripens earlier than both cabernet grapes, responds well to oak ageing and can be grown in cool climate and warm climate with the same success. This particular wine has been produced from the best merlot grapes harvested in the Stirbey vineyard, reducing technical interventions to a minimum in order to preserve the character of the variety and the unique terroir of the Dragasani area. After fermentation on natural yeasts and maceration on skins for 6 weeks, the wine has been racked into romanian oak barriques (of which 50% were new barrels), where it has been aged for 24 months and afterwards bottled without fine filtration. The wine has been produced in a limited edition of only 1800 bottles and is dedicated to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, in appreciation for their humanitarian projects. That said, without further ado, let’s take a look at the wine tasting results.
Take a look at the tasting notes below and our detailed assessment of the wine:
colour: medium-deep | vibrant ruby
clarity: hazy ruby shades
intensity: powerful & elegant
fruit profile: red fruits | black fruits
__red fruits: sour cherry | red plum | pomegranate peel
__black fruits: black cherry | black plum | blackcurrant | blackberry | aronia berry
fruit character: ripe & overripe
non fruit: spice | oak | earthy | other
__spice: red pepper | black pepper
__oak: cherry tree wood | roasted oakwood | cherry tree bark | sundried oakwood | hints of tobacco
__earthy: black tea | black soil dust | hints of turf & compost
__other: dried black cherry | dried black plum
__wood: old & new / medium roast
body: plump & round | medium+
fruit profile: red fruits & black fruits
fruit character: ripe & overripe
non fruit: spice & oak
maturity: close to its prime | age for 3-4 years
verdict: great | a must try
This is definitely a great wine of Romania and, with a total of 93.2 points scored, this wine is right there, among the best wines we’ve rated so far. Check our complete database on the wine rating page, where you can find all the wines that we have tasted and reviewed or go to the about us page and find out more about our exquisite rating system.
Verdict: this is a very plump and noble merlot wine that is very close to the peak of its prime form – thus it will certainly benefit from another 3 or 4 years of bottle ageing. This is a wine of great quality, one that delivers ripe, fine-grained tannins, crisp acidity and a plethora of mesmerizing flavours on the nose, with notes of overripe red & black fruits, roasted oakwood and subtle earthy hints of turf and compost in the background – flavours that are sought after by the wine connoisseurs. This might be one of the best merlot wines that we’ve tasted so far – round, rich and ripe, with a nuanced fruit-forward profile and some very noble and sweet, oak-derived spiciness that coats the wine with an added layer of flavours – a wine that is mixing power with finesse. On the palate the wine feels well balanced and structured, with well integrated alcohol levels, grippy tannins and mouth-watering acidity – all of these traits leads to a very appealing, seedy-crisp finale – a rare wine that has both, varietal typicity and subtle hints of Dragasani terroir.
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