Thomas Halby 2008 Meritage

Napa Valley, CA
80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc; 14.5% ABV
$8 at the Richmond, CA, store on 21 October

thomashalby_2008_meritageThis wine looked interesting, but I was worried by the notes that were printed on the large price tag for this wine.  They mentioned “sweet oak,” which I often dislike.  My concern was deepened by Seedboy’s calling this wine an “oaky mess.”  However, GLPease, in person, said it was “very nice,” so I thought I’d try one and weigh in.  Well, I kind of agree with both of them.  🙂

The wine’s fruit flavors are lovely and elegant — dark red / blue / purple cherry, slight blackberry, with a little earthy / raisiny aged complexity — but they are unfortunately rather light compared to the oak, which is strongly woody and drying on the finish.  Although I am a little critical here, it has been selling very well for an $8 wine at the GO, so take this with a grain of salt (as usual, I guess).

The next day (saved in single-glass, screw-cap bottle), the fruit and oak were better integrated, but the wine had overall degraded somewhat.  The fruit had become more tangy, showing dark plum / boysenberry, as well as some prune / maybe dark chocolate, with a very slight spoiled-fruit aspect, and still possessing a less pronounced but noticeably drying, woody finish.  Overall, I thought this was an interesting and reasonably tasty wine, but not one about which I’m particularly excited..


6 thoughts on “Thomas Halby 2008 Meritage

  1. inthewinecountry

    Darrell, I tried it last night and first thing I noticed was the synthetic cork. Doesn’t mean anything except more effort to extract it. The wine had the dark purple color BW mentioned and I didn’t notice any VA in the nose or tasting it. It did improve over the hour my wife and I drank it and I didn’t feel it had a raisin or pruney taste to it as some old red will develop. I had it with a salad and toasted sesame seed dressing and followed it up with homemade smoked turkey noodle soup (made with GO smoked turkey) The wine did get better the longer it was open and the tannins were smooth but they overwhelmed the fruit and left a coating on my teeth. My opinion is its not that great and is not going to get better with age as the tannin will overwhelm the fruit.. I would rather spend my money on the Black Jack Alluvium.

  2. inthewinecountry

    BW I bought one to try based on the Napa appellation and the year. I was going to save it for a couple years but now I intend to try it and will let you know. Unfortunately too much new oak doesn’t disappear as a wine ages I think.

    1. Darrell

      ITWC, I think what appears as oak in youth changes and melds or integrates with the grape and doesn’t seem overtly as oaky with age plus there is the addition of bottle bouquet with sufficient age, IMO.

  3. Zoel

    Disagree here – I found this wine undrinkable, and quickly relegated into the return bin. Thin, -@acidic, bunch of VA on the nose…blech. All of the Halby wines are dreck thus far…did the buyer even taste these???

    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Zoel. It sounds like you got a bad bottle. If you’re still curious, you might want to exchange it for another bottle of the same wine.

      1. Zoel

        Thanks BW – I tried three different Halby wines…actually four – the Zin was drinkable, the other three were returned. Horrid. If bad bottles, then amazingly bad luck on my part. Doubtful…


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