William Rose Wines 2011 Merlot

A fabled bootlegger and rapscallion

As the legend goes, William Rose was born in Scotland to English parents with Irish blood. He was a fabled bootlegger that traveled the underworld in his Bentley, known as “Demon Bird”. With a taste for the finer things in life, Rose was in high demand for his sought-after cargo of fine wine.

Sadly, William Rose isn’t real – as much as we’d really like him to be. But you can still taste his wines – at least, as interpreted by winemaker Mark Nicholl. Mark, the owner and winemaker at William Rose Wines, delights in telling his visitors about the latest exploits of that rapscallion William Rose.

When Mark launched William Rose, as part of the burgeoning urban wine scene in Eugene, he quickly discovered how tough it would be to earn distribution and reach.

An innovative entrepreneur, he opened the Oregon Wine LAB – a unique tasting room in the heart of Eugene. The LAB features wines from small local winemakers, like William Rose, that don’t have their own dedicated tasting rooms.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

William Rose Wines, Eugene, Oregon
2011 Merlot

I know, I know. You don’t like Merlot. After the giant blockbuster film Sideways sent everyone into a tizzy about Merlot, it seemed to lose its momentum. I was one of those people who shrugged off Merlot.

Until I had this one. Merlot, when done right is a gorgeous balance of ripe, dark fruit and acidity that makes it easy to drink and pair with grilled foods.

This 2011 Merlot is dark ruby red in color with aromas of fig, tobacco, cherry, and ripe Oregon Marionberry. This is a not a big, jammy and lackluster Merlot; rather, the subtle acidity blends with the riper flavors of oven warmed blackberry and raspberry, with small hints of pear on the back palette.

William Rose’s is a lean and fresh Merlot that pairs with a glass, your favorite cut of red meat, wild game or robust cheeses. Pair it with ribs, pulled pork or chicken with your spiciest BBQ sauce for an out-of-this-world combination.

A Cellar 503 selection in July 2015, Wines to Grill By Applegate Valley | Merlot

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