2008 Vicarmont Merlot, Lodi, CA

I haven’t written in a while, and for that I apologize.  My main reason for being sorry is that I haven’t stopped drinking, just haven’t been posting.  One wine of note since I last posted was the 2009 Sacred Hill Otago Valley Pinot Noir.  Great stuff, my wife and I just finished the bottle before I had a chance to reserve enough to write a review.  If I find it in the local store this weekend I assure you I’ll have some words up about it soon.  Now on to the current offering…

Nice, deep red in the glass, with tons of varietal character on the nose.  Black cherry mixed with a little cigar box and sweet chili sauce.  On first sip there’s a hint of salinity, then the wine really fills the mouth, with herbs, dried flowers, more cherries, tart plum, and a finish of toasted barrel.  A big, chewy red from an appellation that’s known for producing them, I’ll definitely be in for another bottle or two.  Didn’t note the pricing in my blackberry for this bottle, but I think I remember it being around $5, and well worth it.

Image borrowed from the 2007 vintage.

10 thoughts on “2008 Vicarmont Merlot, Lodi, CA

  1. Jeff Berger

    Well, Ginny…to make you feel even a little bit better about your Sacred Hill PN…we just got back from 23 days in New Zealand, visiting a number of wineries throughout both islands and all of the major wine districts (Hawkes Bay/Martinborough, Marlborough, and Central Otago. We stopped at Sacred Hill and that Grossout Pinot was selling for $25.00 NZ (about $18.00 US). Also: an unabashed plug! I finally got to visit my favorite NZ producer, Lawson’s Dry Hills in the Marlborough region. I’ve been drinking their Gewurztraminer since I stumbled on it about 10 years ago. If you’ve never had it…and appreciate great dry, concentrated, rich, perfumed Alsatian-style Gewurz…find a bottle. You’ll likely never see it at Grossout. It runs about $16.00 a bottle and sits in my top three of non-Alsatian Gewurzes (although the Cartegena from GO is now at #4), along with Lazy Creek and Navarro from the Anderson Valley in Mendocino.

  2. Ginny

    I keep telling myself to NOT buy more wine, then another 20% GrocOut sale comes along…I have probably 9 or 10 bottles of the Sacred Hill Pinot socked away, and just picked up a case today for a friend who loved it. While it’s not going to compare to a nice, earthy Bourgogne, it’s better than most of the California Pinots I’ve tried and quite a few of the Oregon Pinots, too. It’s a great everyday, very food-friendly wine, pretty well balanced and with not-too-much fruit, and with the Stelvin closure it’s just so easy to pop open, drink and store. I don’t consume a bottle quickly, but if I have a glass every night or so, it’s good for a week on the counter (in the cool wintertime kitchen). Was hoping to find the Canoe Ridge Estate Merlot 2005 today (for $5.99, I believe), but no such luck.

  3. Nicole Gustas

    It’s funny you should post this just now – I visited Vicarmont this weekend and came upon this post while blogging about the experience. (See our blog tomorrow for the post!) That price seems waaaaay lower than what the winery was offering, and I have to say it’s a steal at twice the price.

  4. TukLaw

    I am in SoCal and I can’t find most of the wines posted here. I did get a 2005 Christian Moueix Pomerol (C. Moueix owns the famous Chateau Petrus) for $4.99. I remember it being $12.99 just before the holidays. It was very good although I recommend cellaring it for a year or two more. The tannins are bordering on firm and harsh but the merlot comes out on the finish. If you are having some rib-eye steaks with good marbling, this is very drinkable now as the tannins will cut into that fat.

    I’ll keep an eye on the wines you post. Great site!

    1. grossoutwine Post author

      As I originally started this blog as a place to review the wines being offered at Gross Out that don’t have much online presence, it’s easy to see why many of the wines don’t get picked up at all of the stores throughout the chain. Some of the bigger brands though you can probably find, like Sacred Hill and the Aussie Vineyards selections. I’ll definitely be looking for that Pomerol. There’s been a lesser Bordeaux offering that’s been offered in my local store, although it didn’t look very appealing.

  5. LeftBanker

    Good to see you’re back.

    I, too, love the Sacred Hill Pinot. Been drinking it for a few weeks now and keep going back for more. Everything a NZ pinot should be. An absolute steal at $6.

    We had another NZ pinot a while back. Gone now but if you happen upon it don’t pass it by: Nevis Bluff 2002 Central Otagao. Seems like it should be getting a bit long in the tooth, but it drinks beautifully. Lean and bright. Pale ruby. Cherries. All the usual suspects, nicely balanced and less than $6.

  6. Tom

    Does your Gross Out have the Sterling or the BV Maestro series wines in? I’ve cracked the BV 2007 Tempranillo and thought it was terrific, especially at $5 or $6. Original retail on all these wines was about $30.

    1. TukLaw

      I saw that BV Maestro Series Tempranillo a cuople of days ago hiding behind some other bottles. It looks like it’s the only one left. I can’t wait to try it this weekend.

  7. Jeff Berger

    I’m an “old retired guy”, live in Bremerton, WA and spent 31 years in the wine and liquor industry. I’ve been seriously tasting wines for 40 years and still LOVE it! The Sacred Hill we had in our Grossout last week was the 2008. Here are my notes: this wine is really light ruby in color, but has a great varietal cherry PN nose; medium body with little tannin and fairly high acidity; great fruit tastes “sweet” on the front of the tongue; not astounding, but truly varietal and in a world of $30 and up Pinots, it’s a bargain. But I’ll likely pass on buying more. I’m mighty curious about the 2009 now…but who knows if we’ll ever get it at our store.

    1. grossoutwine Post author

      Thanks for the tasting note Jeff. I may have just recalled wrong and actually consumed the 2008 as well, but that bottle found it’s way to the recycling bin a couple of weeks ago. I think you were spot on though, and it was nice to have a PN that truly tasted varietally correct.


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