2012 Vintner’s Collection Meritage, Sterling Vineyards; 2009 Amantis Montecucco Sangiovese

Christmas Day and plenty of great vino to be enjoyed. First on the docket? The 2012 Sterling Meritage, a big red from the Central Coast of California. Earlier this year I had my first Sterling, and both receive favorable marks for their depth and taste.

2012 Vintner's Collection Meritage, Sterling Vineyards, Central Coast

2012 Vintner’s Collection Meritage, Sterling Vineyards, Central Coast, California, USA.

This Meritage is your kitchen sink of reds–it packs in Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, and you end up with several layers in tasting. Just check out the adjacent photo. You have the fruits (black cherry for sure), a hint of vanilla, and also some of the spice that I think comes through in the Verdot. This bottle we sampled, collectively, with hors d’oeuvres that included an amazing, thick pepperoni, olives, various crackers, and olive tapanade. Maybe some salted almonds too? Special thanks to my cousin and his bride, if you’re reading along, for this fun treat.

The main event of our dinner? A roast to die for. It had a fantastic bark to it (I know this isn’t a food blog but the beef was photo-worthy in and of itself) and the seasonings (salt, dill seed, coriander, garlic, etc.) were perfect. Yes, we had all the usual fixings with the entre, but the beef was cooked just right and carried a tremendous amount of flavor–upon request the butcher had removed the rib bones but then retied them to the meat so as to infuse them into the process. I may err in a detail or two here; again this is more about the wine but just wanted to share details on the accompanying food.

There was a hearty Bordeaux breathing in a decanter all evening, and we opened a 2009 Amantis Montecucco Sangiovese as well. This Italian red originates from the region between Montalcino and coast of Tuscany–one my reference says “succeeds at a hybrid of Brunell and Supertuscan that demonstrates a natural appropriation of the latter two regions’ superlative characters.” Some five-dollar words to say it’s a great, hearty wine with some depth to it.

2009 Amantis Montecucco Sangiovese, Italy.

2009 Amantis Montecucco Sangiovese, Italy.

I taste black cherry here too in the Sangiovese, and rich spices that went just great with the pepper-encrusted beef. Juicy, and delicious. This 2009 could have been tart and tannic, but it wasn’t. The wine was much softer than I’d pictured, and that’s a good thing. We had this first bottle of the 2009 Amantis Montecucco Sangiovese, and a second one immediately on its heels. A third bottle, had one been along for the festivities, would have followed as well.

I’m interested in sampling again on a day where my palate hasn’t been exposed too to Bordeaux or a California red just in case I’m mixing characteristics among the reds. A fun day, though, and one embellished by good wine.

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