Thornton Winery - 2005 Temecula Valley Merlot

Temecula Valley is another of the California Wine Regions that's been coming on strong over the last few years. More and more consumers are aware of its existence and the fact that quality wine is emerging from this burgeoning region. Over the next few days I'll look at three releases from Temecula's Thornton Winery. First founded in 1988, Thornton Winery is one of the Pioneers of high quality Temecula Valley Wine. Their initial focus was Sparkling Wine. Five years later they introduced varietal wines. Between Sparkling and Still wines they currently produce 15,000 cases annually.

Today I'm looking at the Thornton Winery 2005 Temecula Valley Merlot. This wine has a suggested retail price of $27. Alcohol is a modest 13.9%

The nose of this Merlot presents dark, juicy plum and dust. The first sips through to the mid-palate are full of black cherry fruit, spicy white pepper and subtle mocha notes. Dust and white pepper continue through to the finish, joined by brambly earth, dried cherry fruit and nutmeg spice. The wine will be an excellent match for braised short ribs, lasagna or grilled marinated flank steak.

Most impressive to me about the Thornton Merlot is the excellent varietal character it displays. This is a relatively austere red wine, which leans towards the dark fruits that are often trademarks of Merlot made in a more classic European style as this one is. This wine was a little tight and tart out of the bottle so decanting for about an hour is recommended. This Temecula Valley Merlot has present but not overwhelming oak. A firm tannic structure suggests this wine will evolve nicely for at least 2-3 years and drink well for a couple of years after that.

A well made Merlot that's a fine example of this great varietal This is worth seeking out.

Up Next: Thornton Winery- Syrah

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