Frontera is one of the 18 or so labels either wholly owned by, or partnered in some way with, Chilean wine giant Concha Y Toro. They produce cheapskate friendly labels Frontera and Sunrise, high end brand Carmen de Peumo, and a lot of names in between. They are Chile’s largest wine producer and exporter, and have an Argentinian presence, as well.
This particular bottle, a 1.5 liter Merlot was on sale at THE STORE for $7.99, most definitely a cheapskate attractor. We also picked up their Chardonnay, same size, same price. Two 1.5 liter bottles for 16 bucks! That’s what I’m talkin’ about.
We opened the Merlot last evening, and 3 of us had a pour-The Mrs., the son, and myself. My immediate, first smell, first taste reaction was slightly skewed negative…a tiny bit harsh, a bit too acidic, the smell a bit “alcoholly”. But in only a few minutes my glass settled down considerably. It smoothed and mellowed noticeably. “Son” liked it-said “buttery”. The Mrs. liked it-”smells like strawberry”. And it grew on me. Pepper? Plum? Citrus?
I poured another small one just now (the next evening), and there is no harshness or chemical vapor. Nice deep ruby color, soft on the tongue, no unpleasant aftertaste, just a subtle linger of fruit. Not sure if I can draw any scientific conclusion from my 2 night experience, but I must make note that it seems beneficial to this particular Merlot to pour some and walk away for a few minutes to let some of the edge soften. Maybe that theory is just my mouth and nose jumping to conclusions, but I’ll repeat the experiment with the next bottle of Frontera Merlot we buy. Because at $7.99 -or even their normal $9.99 -it’s too good a value to not buy again.