Jennifer M. has a wonderful blog about wine, food, and New Jersey, called Down-Home South Jersey.
She inquired if I had sampled any wines from New Jersey vineyards. I had not. Being NJ Vinoman, I felt obliged to do so.
My first try was the 2006 Bellview Merlot. I have also procured two bottles from Sharrot Winery (also NJ-based), which I plan to assess very shortly.
As for the Bellview Merlot, while it was not my favorite, I would not classify it as a bad wine.
I gave the wine a 3 hour decant.
Notes on the nose were red and black fruit and nothing else. The fruit was there, but without much clarity. There was no depth to the fruits, nothing coming to the forefront, nothing in the background.
Taking a sip, I found red and black fruit, and minerals. Yet again, the fruit was very simplistic. This wine was very one dimensional.
One of the major components in the taste of a wine is the region/soil (terroir) the grapes are grown in. The minerals in this Merlot were unknown to me (hey, I’d never had a New Jersey wine before). Being unaccustomed to the taste, I didn’t find it particularly inviting, but I did press on. Could I learn to like it over time? Perhaps. (If you are on a desert island, you learn to like coconuts.)
The wine listed at a low 12.6% ABV. Despite that, there was definitely a touch of heat on the palate. It came through on the finish as well. The finish was short and a bit rough.
All things considered, I would not call this a bad bottle of wine. It just wasn’t for me. It lacked complexity. It lacked many of the sensations I get from a Merlot, be it Californian, or an Italian blend. This was a different bottle of wine.
The 2006 Bellview Merlot cost me $16. If that fits your price range and you happen to find it, give it a try and let me know what you think, please.