Chester Gap Cellars 2008 Merlot
When it comes to Virginia wine, the two varieties most mentioned are Viognier (the state’s official wine grape variety) and Cabernet Franc. Both are deserving of the discussion. And just for the record, I’m a fan of both. But for those new to Virginia wine, you would be remiss if you overlook Merlot, a variety that often goes unnoticed in the Old Dominion. When bottled as a varietal wine, Virginia can produced elegant, complex and even age-worthy Merlot. One such example is Chester Gap Cellars.
At $19, the Chester Gap Cellars 2008 Merlot is a flat out steal. In fact, all of their wine prices are reasonable, a rarity for Virginia wine.
The initial nose showed wild berries, herbs and a hint of cedar. Secondary aromas of cherries and raspberries become more prevalent once the wine opened up. On the palate, nice minerality with flavors of bright cherry, plum, mint and spice. Medium-bodied with a lingering finish.
Enticing and complex, the wine will continue to improve with short-term cellaring.