June Virtual Tasting 2006 Waterbrook Melange Noir

This month's Virtual Tasting is tonight and is the 2006 Waterbrook Melange Noir. As usual, I will be opening the wine about 7pm and updating this post with my notes along the way. Please join us in trying this wine and posting your notes. New for this month, you can check at the bottom of the post whether you liked the wine or not. I have also included a downloadable tasting note sheet in case you are getting friends together for the tasting. The "Taste" section of the sheet contains a profile template that Sagelands Vineyard uses for their wines. See an example from their site with this filled out here.

Waterbrook is the flagship winery of Precept Wine Brands. The winery was founded in 1984 and produces approximately 70,000 cases annually.

Note: The 2006 vintage is a fairly new release so some outside the state may find the 2005 on the shelves.

7:15 Update: Okay folks the bottle is cracked. Composite cork, very lightly colored. Wine is at 66 degrees.

7:30 Update: Fairly light in color. On the nose, initially some milk chocolate which quickly fades. A whiff of anise, black currant, and light herbal notes.

7:45 Update: As the wine opens cedar starts to show through on the nose and the anise becomes more predominant. Temperature of the wine has gone way up (it's about 110 degrees in the place I'm drinking the wine) so waiting for it to cool back down to comment on the taste.

8:00 Update: Okay, the wine has cooled down a bit. Overall I was fairly surprised by the taste. Initially it seemed quite sharp and at the same time flat which I attributed to the temperature. However, this has persisted as the wine has cooled down. The sharpness is particularly on the back and the sides of the palate. Also seems to be lacking in the middle, as if there is a bit of a hole. I say that I was surprised because I really liked the nose quite a bit. Taste seems quite disconnected from it.

8:15pm Update: Some background information about the wine. An interesting blend of varietals: 28% Cabernet Franc, 21% Syrah, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Sangiovese, 14% Merlot, 1% Tempranillo. 13.7% alcohol. 11,930 cases produced.

Wine Spectator says: 89 points. Crisp in texture and beautifully focused to show its rose petal-accented blackberry and cherry flavors, finishing firm and persistent. Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and others. Best from 2009 through 2013. 11,930 cases made. –HS

Can't say that I really get many of the points in there.

Final Update 9:00pm: Overall, as you might suspect, I'm going to give this wine a ".", or dot in my system. I enjoyed the nose but found the taste surprisingly flat. Disappointing as previous vintages have been a go-to value wine. BTW, I bought the wine for $12 at Pete's.

From Wine Enthusiast:
Not as forward and lush as the appealing 2005, this all-purpose red, tasted a few months prior to its official release, is still knitting the components together. What is in place is plenty of tart, ripe raspberry fruit, precise and clean, and a soft backdrop of lightly chocolaty tannins. - P.G. (8/1/2008) - 87 points

From CellarTracker, average rating 84.6points, median 88 points from 5 tasting notes.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the tasting. Feel free to keep the comments coming and I will respond, but for now, I am moving on to another bottle.

11:00pm Final Final Update (see clarification from 6/25): Some final final thoughts. Comparing this wine to the 2005 Meritage...The 2005 blend was a Bordeaux blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Petit Verdot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 12% Merlot, and 10% Malbec. 13.7% alcohol. 999 cases produced. So all around, a completely different wine. The 2006 Melange Noir is more of a kitchen sink blend compared to the 2005 Meritage. The branding is also different. My assumption was that Waterbrook was simply rebranding this wine. However, given the differences in composition, it makes me wonder if there will be some different incarnation of the Meritage with the same or different name at the same or different price point. I will let you know if I find out more about Waterbrook's plans around this. Also, remember that you can check at the bottom of the post whether you liked this wine or not.

If you have suggestions for the July Virtual Tasting, please send them along.

6/25 Update: Okay, this is a fairly twisted web I have woven. I received confirmation from folks at Waterbrook that they will have both a 2006 Melange Noir AND a 2006 Meritage. My mistake in thinking this a was rebranding of the Meritage. Part of the issue is that they changed the label this year and added "Noir" to the Melange. The Melange has always been the name of the value priced wine. The Meritage is a higher end wine at a $28 price point. Apologies for the confusion. So disregard my note from 11 last night regarding the composition of the 2005 Melange as that was for the Meritage. The 2005 Melange was composed of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Don't have information on the percent composition but will add it if I find it. 16,522 cases were produced (more than for the 2006).

Sean P. Sullivan

Please e-mail any comments or questions to wawinereport@gmail.com


  1. Moving this comment over from the original post earlier in the month:

    Chris Kirchberg said...

    So we started a few minutes early. First whiff was full of alcohol. Temp was around 74. A bit warm and makes sense. Initial taste was tannins and earthy on the nose. Not sure yet about the middle, but the finish seemed to tail off.

    We then ate some pizza and let it sit for a little. Alcohol has disipated and the nice earthy tones appeared in the nose. Like it so far. Time to let sit a little.

  2. 74! Break out the paddles for that wine. Look out the window for the Department of Wine Welfare! Treat that thing like a person with 104 temperature and put it on some ice!

    I agree on the tannins, although it sounds like you are liking it more than I am at the moment. Perhaps I need to get some pizza. Mmmmm...

  3. Striking purple color.

    Nose starts out with a distinctive, unpleasant whack of nail polish remover that thankfully blows off over time. Now, after 90 minutes open, the nose is more pleasant (cherry vanilla).

    This is a great example of an acid-deficient wine. Flabby and flat, and none of the flavors pop; they just sort of sit there in the mouth, waiting to be swallowed and absorbed into my bloodstream.

    This wine is committing a cardinal sin: it's boring me.

  4. Color Med dark red;
    1st nose - cherry, vanilla, grass, oak - somewhat faint
    1st taste - tannin, smoother as it sits in the glass
    2nd nose - bark and cherry

  5. Paul, I agree on the acid deficiency and the flabbiness. Very flat on the taste. Surprisingly so. Perhaps it's time to break out the titration kit and alter the acid levels. Interesting on the nail polish though...

    I was going to give the wine a mulligan given the overall positive experiences I have had with Waterbrook. However, given that you are having about the same experience as I am, I'm thinking it's not a bottle issue. That said, I will forgive them for their sins.

    Anonymous, I agree on the cherry and vanilla on the nose and tannins on the taste. Will be interested to hear what you think on the second taste.

  6. Nose is quite fun! Mocha, vanilla, cherry and a pleasant floral bouquet.

    Taste is equally as boring. Flat and boring. One of the first wines that I thought tasted better at a higher temp than at the correct temperature. Probably because it's so boring at the right temperature!

    Overall it's a dot. Nothing exciting. Not offensive, but why buy a totally boring wine? For a couple extra bucks I'd say the Red Diamond or Columbia Crest Cab is better.

  7. Ldog, agreed on the nose and that it's just a little dull.

  8. 2nd taste: Smooth but flat - agree boring. Might be good with Italian food..wouldn't overwhelm the food that's for sure. Paid $11 at Safeway - good enough for the price, but not a stand alone wine.

  9. Anonymous, great notes. Thanks for participating.

  10. Darn, I posted on the wrong place. Final notes. After letting set for a bit and cooled down a little. Tannins still there, dry, middle is still missing. can taste and acidic finish now. My wife likes it. I say so, so. I would say a "." but my wife gives it a "+" we have different tastes and palettes.

  11. nose of alcohol, cedar, black cherry. unusual blend of 5 red grapes combined into polished, seamless wine that is somewhat uninteresting. Some nice cherry, bit of oak, but very little to explore otherwise. Good value for $5.99 (price mislabeled?)

  12. zinfandelwino, thanks for the comment. Did you really find this wine for $6? That is a steal of a deal.


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