Hello wine lovers, today is Monday the 11th of May and its Monday Merlot Madness! . Tonight from 5pm until 8pm at the wine café at Ralphs we will be hosting Kendall Jackson Winery and the Merlot wines they feature. Kendall Jackson wine is a household name in the wine industry. What most people do not know is that Kendall Jackson (KJ) is a major owner of many high end brands that are frequently found on fine dining establishment wine lists. Legacy, Atalon, Robert Young, and Cardinale are a few wines in the list. KJ went through a major expansion acquiring high-end wineries that needed a better marketing team to represent the wine they produced. KJ’s marketing team was the right fit for the task at hand. KJ owns many more brands much too long to list here, be assured that they are quality wines in the portfolio. Despite what Miles from “Sideways” might think, Merlot has rebounded as a varietals of choice since the kitschy movie the late 90’s.
Merlot found its roots in the village of Bordeaux being the most planted grape in that region. The famous house of Petrus pronounced (pet-roos) is a Merlot wine One of the most prized wines in France to date. What many people missed about the “Sideways” movie is that the coveted Chateau Cheval Blanc is also a Merlot based Bordeaux. So Miles has no reason to be such a snob about merlot since his prized wine is mostly Merlot based. Perhaps that is where the writers came up with the title “Sideways” to describe Mile’s thinking on the wine! just an opinion folks. One fact I can tell you is that movie had a profound effect on the sales of Pinot Noir in record numbers, the business became so great producers have just this past few years been able to supply the demand for the elusive Pinot Noir grape. Keep an eye out for the upcoming Pinot Noir tasting if you are a fan of this wine.
Merlot can be drunk with a myriad of foods. Desserts seem to come to mind when thinking of Merlot. Chocolate-based desserts are an exceptional treat when paired off with a fine Merlot. The wine when served with chocolate seems to explode with deep fruit on the palate. I think it might be due to the coating of the palate from the chocolate while enjoying the wine the tannins seem to disappear and are replaced with cherry and berry notes. On the more savory side of the culinary palate, heavy roasted meats and casserole dishes are great with a Merlot wine. Pasta with red sauce can be enjoyed with the varietals as well. Merlot is a bit softer than its cousin the Cabernet. Great Merlot like that of Petrus can age for many years due to the structure of the wine and the winemaking style. Strong balanced tannins from grape skin and seed are parts of the structure in fine Merlots giving age-ability and backbone to this fruit driven grape. Warmer growing seasons give this grape a fine fruit character while developing structure. Merlots are commonly found in warmer regions for this reason. North of Calistoga to the east side of Napa Valley lays a vineyard called Duckhorn. This spectacular vineyard produces one of Napa’s most sought after Merlot’s. Sitting on the valley floor of Napa Valley Duckhorn Vineyard is a classic example of talented wine makers and warm weather growing style. Proper canopy management will allow the sun to effectively nourish the grapes on the vine to proper ripeness. This wine is a real treat to taste. Please consider joining us tonight for our Monday Merlot Madness if you have the time.
Cheers Mike The Wine Guy