AG Pick Under $10: 2005 Lazy Lizard Merlot

Looks can be very deceiving when it comes to wine labels.  I discovered the 2005 Lazy Lizard Merlot at a blind tasting and am glad I did — I don’t think I would have picked out this bottle if I saw it at a wine shop.  The name and the label don’t exactly give off the impression of a sophisticated wine from the Languedoc region of France.

Lazy Lizard MerlotAfter going through the blind tasting and evaluating the wine’s aromas, flavors and structure, I concluded that this was a Sangiovese from Italy.  Though I didn’t guess the correct varietal or country, I wasn’t too far off.

The Lazy Lizard Merlot certainly exhibits the characteristics of an old world wine — drier in taste with more prominent earth notes.  On the nose are aromas of cedar and dried red fruits.  On the palate are flavors of dried cherries, cedar, tobacco, crushed black pepper and just a hint of sun dried tomatoes.  Well-balanced acidity and tannins give the wine a nice structure and come together for a satisfying finish.  Be sure to let the wine breathe so you can fully appreciate its flavors.

Lazy Lizard Merlot is a French wine for Italian food.  Like my initial conclusion that I was sipping a Sangiovese, this red is great for tomato sauce-based dishes.  It’s perfect for lasagna, chicken parmigiana and pizza.  Since a bottle costs less than $10 it’s perfect for the night you order in a pie.

The 2005 Lazy Lizard Merlot costs around $8.