Ca’Lojera’s 2011 Merlot

My go-to wine for 2014 thus far has been Ca’Lojera’s 2011 Merlot. Each time I serve it, my wine-drinking companions gush out “yum, what is this?” I am reminded of all the reasons why Merlot became so popular in the first place over twenty years ago. Tasting Ca’Lojera’s 2011 Merlot, you can’t help being charmed and delighted by its fragrant, sour cherry flavors, nuanced notes of green-tinged herbs, lightly forested aromas and the pleasing, soft tannin on the finish. It is enjoyable to sip while waiting for dinner to get to the table and it continues to impress as you dig your fork into the plate. How often do I hear people complain of heavy, over-bearing reds? Well, if you are one of them, check out the 2011 Merlot from Ca’Lojera for that taste of a Bordeaux varietal without all the heaviness. 

Ca’Lojera is located along Italy’s Lake Garda just east of Verona in the Lombardy region. The winemaker, Franco Tiraboschi, and his wife Ambra, who runs the winery, are a perfect partnership of opposites but united in bringing attention to the quality of Lombardy wines. TWH first imported Ca’Lojera’s Lugana in 2011, three years and four vintages of Lugana later, their wines continue to impress and gain favor with our customers, restaurant sommeliers and the wine press. With the success of the Ca’Lojera whites, we were encouraged to dip into their reds by first importing the Cabernet Sauvignon and now for the first time ever, their Merlot. Grown on the rocky hillsides overlooking the lake (unlike the Turbiana which is grown on the clay flats), the Merlot is fermented in steel tank giving it a freshness and fruitiness that matches its intensity. I applaud them for resisting the temptation to introduce any oak to this wine, as it would detract from the perky sour cherry flavors and bolster it in ways it doesn’t need. The 2011 Merlot is medium-bodied but not thin, it is fruity but not jammy, and it is quaffable but not simple. For years I have been erroneously predicting Merlot’s comeback, but poor Merlot simply cannot overcome its image problem and this is a shame. Believe it or not, I am not interested in drinking the “best-ever” wine each and every time I pour a glass. Generally and most often, I just want to drink something delicious and interesting for I am an everyday-glass-of-wine kind of gal and not a just-on-special-occasions/once-in-while kind of wine consumer. Therefore stocking up on a soft tannin red like this 2011 Merlot in my case of ok-to-drink-now wine is a welcomed find. 

I am not going to close here with some reference to how I plan on drinking the 2011 Merlot from Ca’Lojera because- let’s be honest- tomorrow I will be drinking beer and noshing on all manner of classic Super Bowl viewing snacks. Throughout the NFL season, I have tried to give my husband the opportunity to watch his games with few disruptions. In return, as my reward, he is making his famous wings for me tomorrow. It will probably be mid-week by the time I get the chance to prepare a proper meal. Then I will crack open another bottle of ’11 Merlot from Ca’Lojera to savor and take in the pleasure of the red ripe sour cherry fruit, peppery undertones and silky tannins. Bellissimo! —Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Lugana

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