This week’s Bargain Wine is Broadside Merlot from Paso Robles. The California city of Paso Robles sits about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is at the Southern edge of what is considered as Northern California. The Paso Robles AVA has about forty-thousand acres of vines planted and is generally associated with Zinfandel and Rhône style wines; so a Paso Robles Merlot is not typical.
The Broadside Merlot was a translucent cherry colour; lighter than I would expect from this varietal. The medium intensity nose was of cherry and leather. Taking a sip, I encountered a soft mouthfeel and a fair bit of fruit. I tasted blackberry and cherry against a background of earthy and understated tannins. The wine was well balanced. The adjective I used for the tannins could be applied to the wine as a whole; understated, but that does not mean it is one-dimensional. Unlike many lower price wines, there was no element that dominates.
When I picked the wine from the shelf, the name had seemed to be an odd choice for a Merlot. A broadside is “a nearly simultaneous firing of all the guns from one side of a warship” or “a strongly worded critical attack”. Having tasted the wine, this wine is far too subtle to match either definition.
The wine is a 100% Merlot grown on the Santa Margarita Ranch in shale that was once on the seabed. It is aged in neutral French oak. I purchased the wine from Bevmo and it cost $14.00. There is little doubt that on my next visit to the store I shall buy more of the Broadside Merlot.