Morassutti Merlot 2009


I have had little success learning anything about the brand Morassutti. All I know is they are one of the many, many labels in the stable of brands wholly owned, controlled by, or imported by the giant company The Wine Group, who own lots of familiar labels. Franzia (the box wine people), Concannon, Corbett Canyon, Fish Eye, and lots more are TWG holdings, as is this Italian brand Morassutti.

Italian labeling, like French, could take an encyclopedic length essay to explain and decipher, and it would still be less than clear. Both, traditionally, labeled their wine by geographic region, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Chianti, Chablis for examples, and not the grape. That is still the case with the French, mostly, but less so the Italians. Names like Chianti were undermined by inferior, or generic namesakes from elsewhere, the U.S., mainly, so now many Italians name for the varietal inside, with, perhaps, some information about the region elsewhere on the labeling. Such is the case with Morassutti. The front is pretty much just Merlot, but the back is Friuli Grave. That, according to the Denominazioned di Origine Controllata or DOC indicates it is from the extreme northeast corner of Italy, an area known as Friuli-Venezia Guilia, and is from a subset of that region where the terroir includes pebbly, gravelly soil.

Interesting? Maybe, if one’s pursuit is wine vocabulary and the business behind the bottle. But our purposes here are strictly the contents of the bottle, and whether it is pleasurable or painful. So, it doesn’t really matter if it comes from your neighbors back yard, or it’s owned by Home Depot. How does it taste, and is it a good deal for a cheapskate?

This was on sale at The Store for $7.99 for a 1.5 liter bottle. Their Pinot Grigio was also $7.99, so I got one of each, and will report back on that one when we get around to opening it. So it most definitely qualifies as a cheapskate selection.

The Merlot is very smooth, no harshness nearly no acidic bite. Dark color, opaque violet. It is mildly fruity-cherry? Black cherry? Pleasant after taste. A grand slam home run Merlot would have more complexity. Sometimes chocolate, or chocolate covered cherries. This one does well in the tongue-friendly smoothness, but aside from the fruit hints is a tiny bit flat. Not bad. Would probably buy it again for 8 bucks, but probably not for $15. Someone in The Store who I asked, “Have you had this?” said they had not, but the Italians were typically softer, thinner (polite for boring) than decent domestics or Latinos. Advice, there, has been hit or miss, but that assessment was right on.

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