What is up with wines that give little or no information about their makers? It makes me wonder. Seriously! In fact, I find it extremely suspicious when a winery doesn’t support their product with informative labeling or at least a modest online presence. That pertains equally to a retailer that sells a private label but disguises it as something other than a store brand. Seems like they’re saying, “I’m horribly embarrassed that I made this wine (ordered this wine), so I’m not going to admit to being responsible for it.” If I think a wine producer is being cagey, I am much less likely to buy their wines no matter what they call them, how they dress them up, or how low the price. As a result, this was my very first experience with any of the Quail Oak selections.
Winemaker: Quail Oak (by The Wine Group for Safeway?)
Price: $6.99 at Safeway
Notes: On the nose I smelled berries and musty earth. The wine is very light-bodied with moderate acidity. At 12.5% alcohol, the Quail Oak Merlot is definitely not a dry red. In fact, I would call this wine sweet. Aside from the sweetness and the lack of any structure to speak of, I found this selection to be fairly pleasant. Flavors for me were plum, dark cherry, a bit of pepper, hints of oak and tar, as well as a dash of bitter herbs on the finish. Personally, though, I really do prefer my Merlots a bit dryer. It wasn’t an offensive wine. It wasn’t a diamond hidden amongst stones, either. I’d say it’s another good candidate for a Sangria – perhaps one that includes citrus because the sweetness of this wine will help balance the citrus. Or maybe this would do well with some leftover spicy Chinese food – Twice Cooked Pork, General Tso’s Chicken and such.
Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur. See “About” for the full disclaimer.