I’ve always been intimidated by Cannonball wines, which is so the opposite of their mission statement. But I think it’s because I actually don’t see it a lot at my local stores and when I do, it’s usually the half-bottle Cab attached to a price tag worth a full bottle. So I thought Cannonball wines were super serious. Luckily, while I was milling about the wine aisle, I came across Cannonball Merlot — not only affordable, but also on sale to boot. This was my chance to see what all the hub bub is really about.

cannonball-sonoma-county-merlot-2014

About the Wine: The 2014 vintage of Cannonball MerlotThis vintage is made from 91% Merlot grapes harvested predominantly from their sustainably farmed estate vineyard, Adam & Eve, in the Northern Russian River Valley. The remaining 9% is a mixture of Petite and Syrah grapes added during final blending (exact quantities unknown).

The grapes went through cold soak fermentation prior to yeast inoculation, draining, and pressing.

13.8% ABV

Flavor Profile: Initial aromas are classic Merlot: a bit of blueberry and blackberry incased by subtle hints of woodsy, savory spices, with an undertone of toasty oak. On the palate, the Cannonball Merlot is a medium to full bodied red wine with a firm mouthfeel defined by its somewhat delicate use of tannins. Primary flavors speak of those bush berries sensed on the nose and carries on with a solid underline of acidty from first sip to finish. Secondary flavors are, again, similar to the nose, melding together baking and savory spices (a hint of nutmeg, cloves or allspice, and maybe just a dash of unsweetened cocoa powder or even coffee). The finish is a clean one, as there is never any overuse of tannins and, as mentioned, the brightness of acidity follows through to the end.

Food Pairing: I enjoyed the Cannonball Merlot with a grilled fillet mignon. I’d recommend serving it medium rare to rare and served with roasted vegetables seasoned with some of those savory spices mentioned in the flavor profile. If i were to have this wine again with this meal, I would definitely add a red wine glaze to tie to the whole dish together.

More Info: Would I buy this wine again? I have to admit that I probably wouldn’t seek it out, as there were no outstanding flavors or nuances during my tasting. That being said, it is a solid and reliable Merlot that could easily pair well with a variety of dishes. So, if I find myself lost in the wine aisle looking for a good red wine, I could certainly see myself grabbing a bottle of Cannonball Merlot if I came across it. I found my bottle at Whole Foods (Sale Price: $11.99)

I’m curious to see if I can find their other varietals at the supermarket now. I honestly thought for the longest time they only did Cab because that’s all I saw. But I now know Cannonball produces Chardonnay and Sauv Blanc, as well as a red blend and rosé through their sister company Angels & Cowboys.

For more information about Cannonball Wine Company and their available wines, please do visit the Cannonball Wine Company website.


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