This Friday at the Wine Cellar Jeff is serving up Merlot in his series of educational wine tasting. So, on that note I thought I would write a few wine facts about Merlot. Merlot sadly got a bad wrap a few years ago with the movie Sideways, as a result sales dipped slightly (and Pinot Noir sales and planting went through the roof) but it is back on top as far as red wine volume sales in the United States.
Merlot, aka the little blackbird is one of the 5 grapes allowed in Bordeaux and was originally famous for its plantings and wines that it is the primary component of in the regions of St. Emillion and Pomerol. Today Merlot is planted all over the world with fabulous, fruity, textured, examples coming from California, Washington, Chile, and Virginia just to name a few. For many years Merlot was used as a blending grape, being paired with it’s big brother Cabernet Sauvignon. The addition of Merlot to Cabernet adds subtle body and softens the sometimes harsh (edges) tannins of the wine providing a great balance and when done right a great wine. Today, as mentioned above Merlot is planted everyone and stands alone on many tasting counters and wine shop shelves. Some knockout examples I have had recently in the 100% Merlot category are the Northstar Columbia Valley, Grgich Hills and Imagery Estates Sunny Slope, all of which show that the grape has 2 very strong legs to stand on. (picture from wiki)
Tomorrow Jeff says he will be serving full bodied Merlots from around the world with examples from Argentina, Australia, Washington and California. Those sound great but I would have liked to seen an example from St. Emillion or Pomerol, but maybe he will surprise us.
Remember the tasting is FREE from 5:00 – 8:00 tomorrow night.