The label for The Velvet Devil Merlot 2019 is stark yet catchy as most wine labels from Charles Smith are. So it grabs your attention stylistically but what about after the bottle is opened and reality sets in?
Yes, it is also cheaper than many Washington State Merlots but can it match their quality?
On the aromatic side one detects a certain meatiness not rounded out by oak. Oak can be a dangerous game if overdone and this Merlot is in no way overcome by oak. Notes of blackberry, smoked meat, cassis, cherry cola. The oak is on the edge of trying to make a statement but is held in check, or in harmony if you like, with the fruit.
On the palate a strong forward prong of blueberries with pomegranate and cherry nectar. Moderate finish. A wine that is perhaps truer to the grape than with its oak. Think of it as a disciplined wine avoiding dancing with the oak devil!
Pair with an Eggplant Sandwich and you can find the recipe here https://www.lcbo.com/en/recipe/the-best-eggplant-sandwich/F201804017
(The Velvet Devil Merlot 2019, Washington State, Charles Smith Wines, Mattawa/Quincy, Washington, $16.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 394742 750 mL, 13.5%, RKS Wine Rating 89/100).