Wine lovers should forever remain open-minded, especially with it comes to their tasting habits. While you or I may not like a particular varietal in one instance, perhaps trying that same varietal again but from a different producer or region will yield a differnet result. So then, the example I present is with merlot, a much-maligned grape, yet one that is found in some of the greatest wines in the world from Bordeaux to California and back.
I tasted another offering from JAQK Cellars after having previously tasted a syrah and a cabernet sauvignon from them in January. This is their Bone Dance Merlot, continuing the theme of gaming related labels. The name refers to a pair of dice bouncing across a table, since dice were traditionally made of bone. I'd urge you to check out the links to those previous reviews to get a sense of the quality that JAQK Cellars is attaining.
Here again I am making a conscious effort to look at hte color of the Bone Dance and compare it to other merlots I have had. There's a wall of purple in the center of my glass, opaque and solid looking. As I look towards the edges though, the wine's color lightens towards a nearly violet hue.
I waited patiently for an hour before smelling and tasting, to try to maintain some kind of systemic consistency to my reviews. The first two things I smelled were vanilla and blueberries, like a blueberry cream tarte fresh out of the oven. Both were strong, what I would call the primary aromas. Secondary aromas, those that I can discern but are more nuanced would be hints of chocolate and black currant. There is a bit of alcoholic heat that distracts, which to me is somewhat disappointing. Still the JAQK Bone Dance has a positively luxurious nose, one that showcases a lot of what can make merlot a superb wine.
The flavors surprised me, as did the structure. I was able to taste the vanilla oak and some mixed berry jam quite easily. Hiding in there were a more dark chocolate flavor and some firm tannins. Texturally the tannins weaved a nice tapestry throughout the wine, even lending some body to the finish. Unfortunately, the finish was a bit abrupt for me, I wished for something with more carry-through. Interestingly I detected a bit of a raspberry puree note right as the wine tapered off, like the kind of puree you'd get on top of a dark chocolate dessert. This pleased me, being an avowed fan of raspberries.
For a suggested retail of $25, the Bone Dance doesn't blow you out of the water but it is very well put together. Texturally interesting wine, great tannin and some wonderful aromatics. A couple of things, the alcoholic tickle on the nose and the too-abrupt finish left me wishing this wine lived up to its potential though. Still, you could do a lot worse, especially at the price point. The 2007 JAQK Cellars Bone Dance Merlot shows how good merlot can be and is a well-priced wine. I thought for a while and ended up giving the wine a B. For you points-lovers, I would give this an 84 points. Not bad wine at all, perhaps just needs some more time in bottle.
This was a media sample from the winery.