Perseus Winery in the Southern Okanagan produces a range of red and white wines, growing both Bordeaux and Rhone varieties. Sometimes Bordeaux meets the Rhone Valley such as in their Syrah Malbec blend. As a follow on to my article on their latest white wine releases, I also received some of their reds to review, which included a Merlot, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah Malbec blend, and their Invictus Bordeaux blend. As with my other tasting notes, I try these wines twice; once upon opening, and again after the wine has time to interact with the air. Sometimes this can be a few hours, and sometimes after a day or two. For these wines, my second tasting was about 6 hrs later. I must say that there was significant differences between the two tastings, which was quite intriguing. Could it be a matter of terroir, of wine making practice, or a bit of both?
- Perseus Merlot 2011 ($21.99) – Translucent bright ruby colour in the glass. Youthful, quite pleasant fruity nose with plums, red cherries, black currants and ripe red fruit. I also enjoyed the baby powder smell, cinnamon, and vanilla aromas. Dry with a lighter mouthfeel and body. Doesn’t coat your mouth but lots of fruit, in particular red cherry, along with plum, blackberry and red fruit. Medium plus length with dry finish at the back of your tongue, and lingering flavours of cherries and some leafiness. The flavours fall of quite quickly and would be nice if they lasted a wee bit longer. This wine really had some notable changes upon my second tasting. On the nose, the baby powder aroma was very subdued, and some chocolate appeared. On the palate it was very peppery, black fruit and chocolate became evident, and the leafiness showed up on the mid palate to the finish. A lighter bodied Merlot which you can enjoy with some soft cheeses or a lighter grilled or roasted meat dish.
Perseus Syrah Malbec Select Lots 2011 ($28.99) – Primarily Syrah (68%) and Malbec (23%) but also rounded out with 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Merlot. This was my favourite of the 4 wines I tasted. The flavours and aromas for this wine persisted with little change between my first and second tastings. It had a youthful nose with ripe raspberries, blackberries, black cherries, adn some dried fruit. I also picked up nutmeg, some chocolate and vanilla aromas. Soft, silky, and mouthfilling with red and black cherries, kirsch, and raspberry fruit flavours. There was a hint of perfume and cloves in this wine, with some minerality as well. Oak toward the finish. Fine tannins, don’t leave a harsh finish. Very soft and fruity finish with acidity at the very end. I really enjoyed the wine and fruit is quite evident. Upon the second tasting I picked up cedar on the nose and palate, blueberries and licquorice as well on the palate. Peppery finish. Enjoy with a dish with lots of pepper (maybe an Asian black pepper beef?), grilled lamb chops, or sausages.
- Perseus Cabernet Sauvignon Select Lots 2010 ($49.99) – This wine coats the glass with it’s opaque ruby colour. A youthful nose that gets more interesting as you continue to swirl it. Blackberry, black cherry, black currant, liquorice, dark and milk chocolate, bacon, nutmeg, violets and vanilla aromas are all there if you let the wine express itself to you. This full bodied wine has really strong tannins that build as you aerate it in your mouth. Flavours of ripe raspberries, plums, blackberries, black currant, black cherries and black fruit, along with vanilla, violet and a hint of nutmeg. Very full mouthfeel with lots of fruit flavour, underlaid by those strong tannins. A very good wine that you should age so those tannins integrate with the wine and soften a bit. On my second tasting of the wine, the tannins reduced considerably, but still fairly strong. The wine also became very spicy. I did try this wine with some bbq pork ribs, and it was a hit. The tannins vanished and you were left with the fruit complementing the bbq flavours.
Invictus Select Lots 2010 ($32.99) – A blend of Merlot (56%), Cabernet Sauvignon (29%), Petit Verdot (9%), Cabernet Franc (4%), and Malbec (2%); all Bordeaux grape varieties. This wine still has youthful aromas, but it is slowly building more complex aromas I think. I picked up ripe raspberry, plum, blackberry, cassis and purple fruits. Some cinnamon vanilla and chocolate too on the nose. A medium bodied with with a light round mouthfeel and a mineral undercurrent. Raspberry, cassis, cherry, blackberry and black fruit flavours, along with a hint of violets and sweet spice. Medium to long length with a slightly tannic finish that is complemented by some acidity. There was a hint of some leafiness on the finish too. I did not note much change for the second tasting other than I added violets to the aromas I detected. More approachable than the Cabernet Sauvignon with the softer tanninic structure. Enjoy with a tomato based pasta dish with meatballs, or maybe with beef brisket.
So to decant or not to decant? It depends on the flavour profile you are looking for. The Merlot and the Select Lots Cabernet Sauvignon brought out more spiciness with exposure to air, and softened the tannins in the Cab. The Syrah Malbec and the Invictus had very similar profiles whether just opened or with some air. Either way, you are getting high quality red wines from Perseus. Enjoy!