How Good is Fiegl Leopold Merlot?
Wine Review of 2011 Fiegl ‘Leopold’ Collio Merlot, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Northe East Italy
The Merlot grapes for this Leopold cuvée by Fiegl winery are sourced from the estate’s historic Oslavia vineyards whose low-yielding old vines have about 60 years of age, in the Collio area of Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of North Eastern Italy.
After fermentation, the wine was aged for 3 years in tonneaux (large oak barrels) before a further 3 years of aging in bottle, explaining why the current release, vintage 2011, is nearly 7 years of age at the time of tasting!
This Italian Merlot comes in a rather dense garnet-red color, with hints of both orange and purple hues to the rim intensifying the aspect. Yet, of a rich vibrant red it looks overall.
The nose also appears rich and quite pungent straight away, filled with dark ripe cherry aromas deepened by powerful torrefacted oaky notes of dark cocoa, wood ashes, caramel and hazelnut liqueur. Some peppery spice marries strawberry jam, with a grilled and smoky meat edge.
A complex, oak, sweet savory of a nose. Interesting and intriguing, very deep to smell!
The dry palate bursts with intense cherry liqueur flavors, and a heap of dried spices, nutmeg, fennel and coriander seeds, together with bitter dark cocoa flavors. The sweet/savory feel therefore continues strongly in your mouth, with a ballet of ripe red berry flavors, that are rich and opulent, tasting delicately sweet, but combined with dry, savory, sour-doughy, and somewhat austere dry spice flavors.
Tannins are velvety, quite smooth with a granular edge. A long and layered finish, with solid length and complexity.
Quite a fascinating Merlot, that many will find interesting and enjoyable given you like a wealth of oak and a heap of spicy characters, and given you are adventurous and curious-enough to love big-hearted wines with a distinct characterful personality.
Take this Merlot for what it is though, a dry, vibrantly fruity, yet almost overwhelmed by a lot of oaky impact —which admittedly has been tamed down now by its 6-7 years of ageing—, and you will find a lovely, concentrated, and complex wine.