Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Harry & David Southern Oregon Merlot 2012

Harry & David Vineyards Southern Oregon Merlot gift basket selection

Harry & David is a on-line catalogue corporate gift site that packages a broad selection of gift boxes and baskets to send to clients, customers, and special folks. The gifts can be composed from a broad selection of gourmet foods, baked goods, cheese, fruit, chocolates and wine, or combinations thereof. The wine selection offerings consist of reds or whites or combinations thereof, of mostly Oregon wines. 

We received this bottle in such a gift box from a valued vendor years ago and have held it ever since, tucked away in the cellar, waiting for an appropriate time to drink it, or 're-gift' it. The Oregon reds available are Pinot Noir, a red blend, a Cabernet Sauvignon, or this Southern Oregon designated Merlot. This label has been offered consistently going back a decade to the 2010 vintage, sans 2011. 

According to their site," the Harry & David wine team works with growers and winemakers across the 'three prominent valleys' of Oregon to deliver the range of wines to their exacting standards". The wines are private labeled Harry & David Vineyards, which is carefully worded but more than a bit misleading since they are all outsourced to suppliers. The wine gift offerings are paired with a vast broad selection of wines, cheeses, meat, bakery goods, chocolates and more in price ranges from under $30 to several hundreds of dollars. 

According to the rear wine label, the brothers Harry and David started growing and shipping their "extraordinary homegrown (Oregon) pears" seventy five years ago and continuously expanded the business and "gourmet gift offerings to celebrate every occasion" ever since. And, "every occasion needs wine."

The promotion listing on the annual five day long Oregon Wine Experience charity fund raising event that is supported by all the leading winemakers and producers across the state and includes Harry & David. It says; "The Medford-based gourmet foods company, which has been selling gift baskets filled with locally produced fruit and snacks since 1934, has hired winemaker Linda Donovan of Pallet Wine Co. in Medford to make nine different wines from grapes grown mostly in the Rogue Valley. The wines will include Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir. The company has long sold wines from Oregon, California and imports in stores and it ships wines through the website. The Harry & David Vineyards label has the name of the grape-growing region printed across the top."

Pallet Wine Company Pallet "was built to provide a central winemaking destination for the quickly expanding Southern Oregon wine regions and focus on custom winemaking for growers who wish to pursue selling their own brand, and virtual brand owners who desire consistent and high quality wines vintage to vintage."

Cellartracker, the wine cellar management tool that I have been using for nearly a decade, says it has grown exorbitantly "to hundreds of thousands of collectors tracking more than 141 million bottles. CellarTracker has also grown to become the largest database of community tasting notes with more than 9 million such notes as of late 2021. Every year more than 10 million visitors come to the site to read reviews and garner wine recommendations."

Notably, they list nine vintages of this label with one or fewer tasting notes each totaling less than a half dozen tasting notes in total - the fewest I have ever seen for a label across such a range of vintages.  

 Our expectations for this wine were pretty low, but I must admit it exceeded them, actually proving to be reasonable every day casual sipping. It would meet the expectations for a large majority of consumers for such an every day wine, meeting the objective of a gifted wine, which of course would not want to disappoint. This is a testament to the care they take in selecting their wine offerings within their margin limits for their price-points.

This was ruby colored, light-medium bodied, rather austere simple easy drinking with notes of cherry and berry fruits, spice and hints of vanilla, smoke and pepper.

RM 85 points.