Good God I love this stuff! Probably my favorite all time Merlot, and not just due to the cool bottle! It’s also probably my most recommended wine for someone looking to give a bottle as a gift.
The Handprint Merlot can really be considered the signature wine out of the whole Meeker lineup. Each bottle is touched by a handful of people (no pun intended) , and is usually Charlie Meeker (owner & co-winemaker), Lucas Meeker or Matt Blankenheim (winemaker). Each leave "handprints" on each bottle ensuring that each Meeker Merlot is a unique work of art.
In 2001, the Meeker tasting room was cited by The Wall Street Journal as one of the most enjoyable wine tasting experiences in all of Napa and Sonoma Counties. As Molly Meeker says, "If you enjoyed tasting in a tipi, try it in a vault!"
In the 80’s, the Meeker tasting room was an authentic Sioux tipi. Today, they’ve updated a little. The Meeker Vineyard tasting room is currently located in the 100-year-old Geyserville Bank Building in the farm town of Geyserville, about six miles north of Healdsburg between Alexander and Dry Creek Valleys.
This wine is/was the ‘05 vintage, however the 2006 has just been released. I always have a certain amount of admiration for wineries that hold back on releasing their bottles that little bit extra! It shows that they aren’t just looking to move it straight out of the warehouse for a quick buck; but that they actually care about the juice meeting their intended flavor profile once it reaches the consumer.
Meeker sources their grapes from the Dry Creek, Russian River and Alexander Valley in Sonoma.
The Russian River Valley is best known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (due to the cooler climate), while the warmer Dry Creek Valley has some of the state’s best Zinfandel, and the Alexander Valley is noted for its excellent Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Sonoma County is a diverse landscape for grape growing that, climatically, is strongly influenced by maritime variations.
Daytime temperatures in Sonoma average around 71F, with the warmest summer days rarely reaching over 84F. Nighttime temperatures stay mostly in the 40s.
Interesting fact for you; did you know that 80% of the scenes in the movie Bottleshock, (the movie about the wine tasting victory of a Napa Valley Chardonnay over France’s best whites in 1976), were actually shot in Sonoma.
When I was first approached to taste this wine my first thoughts were “Wow, what a great gimmick, having hand prints on the bottle!” However, after sampling it I realized that this wine is so much more.
After the whole “Sideways-thing” (which I think seems to have finally passed), people seem to need a little faith restoring in Merlot. Saying that, if you’re looking for a soft, one-dimensional, Merlot that you so often find at grocery stores, think again! This isn’t it. Granted, you’re paying a decent amount of money for this bottle, but before you say "I hate fu*king hate Merlot’s!" you need to try this bottle.
The Meeker 2005 Merlot drinks more like a Cab. The dry finish alone will turn off most generic-Merlot drinkers. Plum, cherry, vanilla and dried herbs on the nose. Blackberry, plum, ripened cherries, vanilla and leather on the palate. It balances the alcohol (14.8%) well with the fruit. Long finish with a fairly hefty amount of acidity; indicating that this wine would welcome at least a few years cellaring. In fact, the Meeker winery suggest it will hold for AT LEAST another 10 years.
If you’re buying a bottle, just make sure that you decant it a couple of hours before serving.
This wine begs for beef, and due to the cherry and herbaceous nature of this wine, I actually selected a recipe that, in my humble opinion, would provide a perfect pairing: Beef Filets with Cherry Ancho Espresso Sauce courtesy of The Fresh Market
$38 – fairly limited availability, but it certainly stands-out on a retailers self so you shouldn’t miss it!