Cali Merlot has gotten a bad rap for a long time thanks to the wine lover's cult classic "Sideways". If you've ever seen the movie, you know of all of the hate Merlot received. This month, we're going to shine a light on this misunderstood wine.
The name Merlot comes from "merle", which is the French name for blackbird. Merlot is one of the principal wine grape varieties of the Bordeaux region in France. Historically, winemakers have used Merlot as a blending grape to soften a wine, usually combined with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Merlot was brought to California in the 1850s -1870s, but the grape didn't become fashionable until the 1990s. In 1985, less than 2,000 acres of Merlot existed in California, and by 2003 that increased to over 50,000 acres.
Merlot's popularity came crashing down in 2004 after the release of the film "Sideways", in which the lead character, a Pinot Noir fan, adamantly refuses to drink Merlot wine. Termed the "Sideways Effect", the film influenced the buying patterns of movie-going wine drinkers nationwide. The majority of California’s Merlot vines are planted in Lodi/San Joaquin County, followed by Napa, Sonoma and Monterey counties.
What Does The Wine Taste Like?
California Merlots are fruit driven and can range from simple wines to more serious, complex barrel-aged examples. Merlot has dark fruit flavors of black cherry, blackberry, plum, and raspberry layered with herbal notes and undertones of vanilla and mocha.
What's In The Box?
Rustic Artisan Crisps
Merlot Finishing Salt
Cocktail Infusion Kit
Roast duck, turkey, and lean cuts of beef
Pasta with tomato based sauces
Dishes with dark fruit based sauces