In the movie Sideways, Paul Giamatti’s character proclaimed, “No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!” The reason why he says that is not because he didn’t *like* Merlot, being that his prized bottle of 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is Merlot dominant. According to an article by Rick Bakas, the reason why Miles deplored Merlot is because it was his ex-wife’s favorite wine.
I have exes. I get it. There are certain things and places that I avoid because of the association.
Why am I mentioning Merlot, Sideways and exes?
October 1st marked the start of #MerlotMe, which is a month-long celebration of the noble grape.
Merlot is a very aromatic grape. Quite often, you’ll detect cherry, cocoa, baking spices like clove and vanilla, and earthy tones like tobacco and smoke on the nose. Taste wise, Merlot has plenty of fresh dark fruit notes such as cherry, blackberry and blueberry; black pepper and cocoa round out the flavor profile. With softer tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon, this is often a good introduction to reds.
This noble grape is also very food friendly. No matter how the food is prepared, Merlot can stand up to pork, beef, poultry or game.
Quite often, you will find Merlot blended with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, but with it’s soft, easy drinking ability, it should be an everyday wine. In addition to France, Washington, California, Chile and Australia are all making Merlot’s that are fantastic.
Which Washington wines do I recommend when seeking out Merlot?
What are some of your favorite Merlots?