WHAT : Bollini Merlot 2004 (red) Rating: NN
WHERE : Trentino, Italy
WHY : See Merlot #2. If you're looking for an exciting wine, this isn't it. This bottle is more Nissan than Audi - reliable and suitable for many occasions, but no oohs and aahs. It's got a bit of spice, but things are generally pretty Merlot-mellow. The wine's simplicity is discernible in its grapey bouquet.
PRICE : 750 ml/$13.95
AVAILABILITY : At selected Vintages outlets as of March 4 (product #717306)
WHAT : Sumac Ridge Merlot 2002 (red) Rating: NNN
WHERE : Okanagan Valley, BC
WHY : See Merlot #1. Here's a good deal more wine for not a lot more money. The bouquet immediately informs us that we're taking a step up. It's fuller and richer, with a great undertone of chocolate cake. In the mouth there's an enjoyable see-saw between a pucker and a smile. Not a pushover Merlot.
PRICE : 750 ml/$17.95
AVAILABILITY : At selected Vintages outlets as of March 4 (product #593053)
Sips and Nips
WHAT : Locke's Eight Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey Rating: NNNN
WHERE: County Louth, Ireland
WHY: Okay, St. Patrick's Day is coming up. So, yes, this whiskey is magically delicious. It's manly, yes, but I like it, too. Actually, this expensive bottle is anything but a cliché. The nose is fantastic - mysterious with touches of sweetness and barnyard. The taste is full but civilized, like an eloquent opinion voiced over the din of a crowded pub.
PRICE : 700ml/$64.95
AVAILABILITY : At selected Vintages outlets as of March 4 (product #913475)