*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Artisan Family of Wines
Recently, Jeff Miller of Artisan Family of Wines contacted me about sampling some of his wines. Artisan Family is currently producing 3 labels, Sly Dog Cellars, Seven Artisans, and Red Cote. Jeff and his wife own a small vineyard in Napa and 40 acres in Suisun Valley. Jeff is a recovering attorney (there seem to be a lot of those in the wine industry…so maybe it will work out for me someday too!) who does the wine-making for the company. He also maintains a blog that you should check out…it’s interesting to me to a read no punches held look at how he does business. With that said, I chose to first try the 2006 Seven Artisans Meritage. The wine had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume, and retails for $17.99. The Meritage is a blend of mostly Merlot (technically this could be called a Merlot, it has 89.5% Merlot), Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Verdot. The fruit comes from Suisun Valley.
On the nose I found chocolate covered cherries, raisins, black currants, plums, raisinets, vanilla, and a bit of oak. The chocolate candy definitely jumped out of the glass at me, and the Merlot definitely was the star here. In the mouth, I found the fruit to be much redder and more tart than I expected based on the nose. I got red raspberries, Luden’s cherry cough drops (anyone remember those? My mom used to give them to me when I had a sore throat and they tasted just like cherry candy!), cherries, an earthy quality, spice, and a hint of chocolate on the back palate. I almost thought I got a bit of a meaty note as well. Overall, this wine is structured with good acidity, and nice tannins. It’s not a fruity soft in your face Merlot, so if that’s what you’re looking for, look elsewhere. Pair this with a spiced pork loin in my opinion!