Saturday, July 21, 2012

Philip Carter Meritage 2010 and Cleve 2009 - Fantastic! (VA)

OK, just as recently as March 30, 2012, I reviewed Philip Carter Meritage 2006. A wonderful wine. So I am not going to delve into the terrific backstory that is Philip Carter all over again. However, I would suggest you click through if you want to read more about them.

I was luck enough, during Taste Camp 2012 to taste the Philip Carter Meritage 2010, and chose that to write about because the Philip Carter Mertiage wines have been an outstanding success story for them and for Virginia wine! I also tasted recently for the first time their other flagship wine, Cleve!

The 2010 Meritage is a wonderful new blend of 42% Cabernet Franc, 32% Petite Verdot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot. The wine was aged 18 months in French oak barrels. Big nose of raspberry, dark cherry and hint of cassis, a nice does of vanilla and something, (they suggest smokiness) but I am thinking leather? fallen leaves? just a hint...a hint. Big oak to it, with tremendous flair. Big fruit up front with dark cherries, cassis and prunes. The wine is big up front with flavor, and low acids, but with big strong tannins. A wonderful wine.

2009 Cleve. According to Philip Carter this is their flagship wine. This is an unusual blend of Tannat and Petit Verdot (both of which are performing well in Virginia), and is aged in premium French oak for 20 months. This is a big, deep, purplish wine, with huge fruit up front. One the nose and palate you are hammered (in a good way) by a big pot of dark stewed fruits. Prunes, plums, cherries and raspberries, and cassis all come through. But this wine is not a fruit bomb. It is a structured wine, with low acidity, but with big strong tannins and that keep the wine from being flabby. Instead there's muscle to this wine while there is also a sophistication that usually accompanies wine from other regions like Italy or France or Spain. Matter of fact I would posit that this tastes like a rich, Rioja Gran Riserva....and is worth just the same amount of respect. Impressive!

Both of these were absolutely fabulous wines! Tremendous. Philip Carter proves that world class wines are being made well and consistently from year to year on the east coast! Exceptional wines!

Read the 2006 review: