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Merlots Miles Missed

The mythological Pegasus is the namesake of Clos Pegase and appears on their labels. Pegasus unleashed the Spring of the Muses—the goddesses of the arts—and ripped open Mount Helicon releasing waters within, which irrigated the vines, giving birth to wine. The Muses were inspired by wine, and art was born. Yet the wines at Clos Pegase are no myth. For Merlot, Jan Shrem sought the cooler regions of Napa for planting. The desire was to make a wine—more native in expression—with pure red fruits and light herbal, earthy tones as opposed to the more jammy style of warmer climates. Fulfilling this desire are aromas of dark fruit and oak inviting a taste of Clos Pegase Mitsuko's Vineyard 2001 ($25). Layers of plum and cherry linger on the palate of a wine made in keeping with the Clos Pegase style of balance, harmony, and symmetry. The wine is available at Bruno's, Classic Wine Company, The Vintage Wine Shoppe, Western in Vestavia, Overton and Vine, Village Wine Market, and Winn Dixie at Deerfoot.

Napa Valley's Silverado Vineyards celebrates its silver anniversary of creating expressive benchmark wines that are both elegant and age-worthy. This family owned winery has produced proprietor-grown wines in the Stags Leap District since 1981. Silverado Vineyards Merlot 2002 ($28) is deep ruby with great intensity and concentrated aromas of ripe berries and plum. This medium to full-bodied Merlot is rich in texture and offers luscious flavors of cherry and sweet oak. Pick up a bottle at Classic Wine Company, Overton and Vine, Publix 280, The Vintage Wine Shoppe, The Wine Cellar, or Western Supermarkets.

And from vineyards of Sonoma County, come two marvelous Merlots. Arrowood Grandarcher 2001 ($16) is an ultra-premium, full-bodied, wine that is packed with deep, red ruby fruit and balanced tannins. Aromas of cassis (black currant), strawberry and blackberry jams dominate subtler notes of tobacco leaf and leather. Deep, concentrated flavors of blackberry, cherry, plum, spice and toasty oak linger on the finish. And Arrowood Sonoma County Merlot 2001 ($42) is a rich wine of deep purple, suggesting aromas of black fruit, cherry, toffee and vanilla. This complex wine is rich in texture with balanced tannins. Supple and juicy layers, including cherry, plum, black licorice and cedar, lead to a lengthy finish. Winemaker Richard Arrowood describes the wine, “not for the faint of heart.” Uncork one of these fine Arrowood wines at Bruno's Summit, Overton and Vine, Piggly Wiggly Crestline, Publix, The Vintage Wine Shoppe, Winn Dixie Chelsea, Village Wine Market, and Western Vestavia.

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