While a Merlot in terms of labeling requirements the 2009 Two Vines from Columbia Crest is definitely a blend of three complementary grapes, two of them dominating the flavor profile. Winemaker notes indicate the 09 vintage is 52% Merlot, 43% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2010 vintage is a similar though not exact blend of the same three grapes. Some may feel deluded by the high percentage of Cab Franc, but the overall product shows off a nice balance that moves from the tip of the tongue to the back of the throat in a progression of unfolding flavors.
Note the deep reddish color in the glass then inhale, the fresh fruit fills your nose with a bouquet of dark fruits and a surprising hint of blueberry. Typical of Merlot this is a wine that hits you right at the tip of your tongue with blackberry and purple plum flavors, however, the blend provides a mid palate tinged with raspberry and a bit of olive at the end. While not a deep bodied wine, the 2009 Two Vines Merlot is very filling in the mouth and provides a package of fresh fruit that is easy to drink on its own, but the finish of chalky tannins and mild acidity allows this wine to work well with a variety of foods too.
As far as recommended pairings we had success with earthier, vegetable dishes, try blending some olives into your recipe or a sautéed mushroom side dish with the entree. Do avoid a lot of spice and pepper if you grill, better a simple hamburger with lettuce and tomato. For finger food try an olive tapenade on toast points and skip the tendency to be delicate, the full fruit nature will cover up your beautiful cucumber or cream cheese puffs. In other words, this a wine that will go well with your Labor Day quick and easy meal plan.
The 2009 Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot follows the price point of its sibling varietals, expect to see some variation, but it should be available in the $5 to $7 price range. Look for specials around town, I found mine at Publix for a flat $5 and it was worth every penny.