Arrowhead Spring Vineyards Meritage Reserve 2008 – Make Mine A Meritage Wine 10

A blackberry patch in a bottle.

41% Cabernet Franc, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot from Niagara Escarpment, New York.

SRP of $25 and available at that price (Saturday Splurge). Sample submitted for review.

From the bottle:

“This wine is aged for 23 months in oak barrels. Each barrel is individually selected for this blend with a goal of making the best possible wine, rather than emphasizing individual varietal character. Highly structured with lots of complexity and body to go well with up to the heartiest meals.

Arrowhead Spring Vineyards is a sustainable winery located in Niagara County, NY. We specialize in hand crafted, traditionally made wines. We make our wines with an obsessive focus on quality and respect for the environment. Please be environmentally responsible and recycle this bottle, aluminum capsule and cork (empty first!)

13.3% Alcohol”

We’re nearing the end of our ongoing series on Meritage, with just one more wine to go after today. Hopefully you’ve found some new wine to try as we’ve made our way through this series. I also hope that I’ve encouraged you to try wine from some new places, like New York state. You may remember one of the wines we covered earlier in the series was a knock-out from the Niagara Escarpment in New York: Arrowhead Red Meritage 2008 – It’s easy to fall for this Meritage from Niagara. Well, we liked it so much we had to include it’s big brother as well, the Reserve.

The Reserve uses a similar blend, but ups the Cabernet Franc from 31% to 41%, the Cabernet Sauvignon from 35% to 39% and drops the Merlot from 34% to 20%. Cabernet Franc is a popular variety in cooler climates, as it ripens earlier and more reliably than Cabernet Sauvignon. And while New York is a cooler climate area, the conditions in the Niagara Escarpment help to create moderate temperatures which in turn means an easier time ripening grapes. If the grapes don’t ripen sufficiently then you have lower sugar levels (and thus lower alcohol) and generally more “green” flavors in the wine (but generally also higher acidity). For today’s wine it doesn’t appear there was any issue ripening the grapes because this one is loaded with ripe fruit flavors!

The 2008 Arrowhead Spring Vineyards Meritage Reserve begins with lots of ripe berry aromas, vanilla, maple syrup and brown sugar. Tasting the wine reveals tons of ripe, juicy blackberry. You’ll find some nice vanilla and black pepper notes as well, but this one is mostly about the ripe berry fruit. Sweet oak notes, fine tannins and a nice underlying streak of minerality round out this medium-bodied wine which we found to be surprisingly good with dark chocolate. It finishes with good length, those berry and oak notes lingering in the mouth for a good bit. The whole thing was even a bit better on day two leading me to believe the wine is still a bit young and will probably get even better from here. Yum!

Wine in the “Make Mine A Meritage” series:

See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.

Saturday Splurge

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