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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
CheckMate Artisanal Winery Opening Gambit Merlot
94POINTS
17½/20

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Opening Gambit Merlot 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOpening Gambit 2016 is a blend of 85.7/9.5/4.5 merlot, petit verdot and cabernet franc, the latter two having a lasting impact on the style of this delicious bottle. The vines grow on a steep undulating slope between 330m to 437m, with a variety of expositions. It's a touch less hedonistic in 2016, and more serious in keeping what looks to be a terrific growing season for the much-maligned merlot. The nose is fragrant and savoury, but in 2016, the fruit is particularly pure. The texture is creamy and supple, aided by dense, sweet, soft tannins that build the structure without drying out the wine. Bolgheri-like, its savoury mocha finish is part of the charm. Inspected cluster-by-cluster, the fruit is all hand-sorted and gently destemmed before another round of individual berry selection is done prior to an all-natural indigenous ferment. Post ferment the juice is gravity drained into new French oak barrels for 21 months of ageing. All the Checkmate reds are bottled unfined and unfiltered, suggesting decanting will be necessary some time down the road. This wine was tasted on February 4 as part of a four year vertical featuring the 2013-2014-2015 and 2016 Opening Gambit.Tasted: 13 April 2020Tasted by: Prices: BC 85.00 winery direct, wine club members BC 196.00 1500 winery direct, wine club members BC 480.00 3000 winery direct, wine club members BC 989.00 6000 winery direct, wine club members Producer: CheckMate Artisanal WineryDistributors: Mark Anthony Wines and Spirits
Grape: MerlotCSPC: 408161UPC: 776545801753