I definitely enjoyed this wine's 10% barrel-fermented sibling, but Croteaux Vineyards' 2007 Merlot "3 Clone" Rose ($18) was fermented entirely in oak and aged for 5 months in older oak barrels... and I just don't 'get' this wine.
I like that Croteaux makes "rose on purpose," even if it seems a bit insane in such a tremendous vintage to use all of that beautiful merlot fruit for rose. And, it's kind of interesting that they do three different ones (I'll post my review of the third tomorrow), but this wine is just weird. Sometimes weird is good. Here, I'm not so sure.
Your standard light pink in the glass, the nose offers few hints as to its merlot origins. There are hints of dried cherries here, but they are buried behind vanilla, toasted almonds and roasted marshmallows.
Dry and medium bodied, the palate offers similar character -- vanilla, marsmallow, caramel -- but even less fruit. The highlight is a deliciously creamy mid-palate that I liked more as the wine warmed. A bit of cherry joins toasty vanilla and light acidity on a lengthy finish.
Blind, meaning blindfolded in this case, I'd probably think this an oddly cherry-inflected, barrel fermented chardonnay. Weird and really didn't hit my palate right. It's just not what I personally look for in rose.
By the way, the "3" clone is from U.C. Davis.
Grape(s): 100% merlot
Producer: Croteaux Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Rating: (1.5 out of 5 | Not Recommended-to-Average)