23 January 2006

2004 Rawson's Retreat Penfolds Merlot

Ah, Penfolds... Producers of the most noble Grange and the most lowly... 2004 Rawson's Retreat Penfolds Merlot. I picked up the latter for $7 at the local wine shop. I reviewed the 2003 a year ago, and wasn't impressed.

I like this vintage a little more. It's got a powerful flavor and aroma of strawberry jam, which tends to make me think of the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches of my youth. It's a little more acidic and slightly tannic than I like in a Merlot, though it's not a bad wine. I still enjoy the historical significance behind the name.

On the subject of label design, it appears as though they've added a light gray image of the original Rawson's Retreat homestead on the bottom of the label. Good on them, I say. I've had almost all good experiences with Penfolds, yet they have a pretty wide range of prices and categories, and all of them seem to use the same label. This has a certain benefit, as you can bring a bottle to a party and the host probably won't know if it's a $10 or $50 bottle. But can't they just follow the herd and throw a wombat on the label? I mean, it's a humble wine and you don't get more humble than the burrowing and tenacious wombat. Honestly, if you sold this plonk in the US and renamed the wombat the "ground koala", you could sell barrels of the stuff.

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