Monday, April 29, 2013

Merlot...The Misunderstood Wine!!


Yes I drink Merlot! There I said it! I Drink Merlot and I like it!! Why not it’s a great wine. In fact it’s the world’s most popular red wine, but you’d never know it if you asked the “wine experts.”

In the movie Sideways, Jack tells Miles that “if they want to drink Merlot we’re drinking Merlot.” Miles responded with “if anybody orders Merlot I’m leaving! I am not drinking any #@*^ Merlot!” And that pretty well sums up the view of Merlot. 

So how did Merlot come to the lowly state of most popular red wine that no one admits to drinking?

Well I think its popularity caused the problem. It’s one of the most prominent grapes in the French Bordeaux region and when wine started taking off here in the US every American winery thought they needed a Merlot to match the French Bordeaux.  

Unfortunately that meant a lot of very bad and mediocre Merlots were made. Many still are but that’s improving.

Merlots are deep color, red fruit wines that have flavors of cherry, blackberry, plum and currants.  They can also have the flavor of chocolate and mocha with the suggestion of coffee or tea. And when aged in oak they have a hint of cedar or toasted oak.

Merlots can be very full bodied with tannins. I really like these because they assume a lot of the characteristics of a Cabernet and go very well with a good steak.

Gale however always finds these Merlots confusing because they don’t taste like the Merlots most good wineries are making. She likes her wines to stay in character. And for Merlots that’s fruit forward, soft and friendly. And when made right, these wines are perfect for drinking with friends.

Sideways and Miles got it wrong, When made right Merlot is a very nice wine.

So I was excited to find that one of my favorite wineries had its 2009 Merlots on sale. The deLorimier winery in Geyserville,  California is where we stayed on last year’s wine trip. It’s part of the Wilson family of wineries and they make some really great wines. And their deLorimier Merlot is no exception.

We bought several cases of this very food friendly wine. It has the aromas of dark fruit with hints of toasted oak and roasted coffee. Its flavors are deep cherry and blackberry with slight tannins and oak. You’ll also find a very small hint of mocha.

And this Merlot is perfect for drinking with friends.   

Well our cases arrived last week and I quickly opened them eagerly getting out the bottles. All that was left was drinking my new found friends! That night we savored a bottle with our outdoor meal and it proved to be as good as I thought it would be.

Merlot is a very great wine, especially with good food and great friends!


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