Monterey County, California
Did you know, the name Merlot comes from the French word “merle” which means ‘blackbird’? It references both the dark skinned grape’s appearance and the blackbird’s love for feasting on the ripened grapes during their southern migration. Outside of it’s traditional home of Bordeaux, Merlot can appear in many styles depending on the region it is grown. The US is the third largest producer of Merlot and in California, the majority of Merlot is planted in the Central Valley and hotter, coastal areas. Here there is very little chance of producing thin, under-ripe fruit. The early ripening Merlot is best harvested several weeks before Cabernet, capturing fresh plum flavours and avoiding over-baked fruit. The Merlot grape is also suseptible to rot and the thin-skinned grapes must be harvested before fall rains to prevent mildew. The California Merlot has become very popular and sought after for it’s lushness. Drink over the next 2 years at 17 degrees Celsius.
Velvety ruby with glimmers of purple. The core is almost opaque and the edges, clean and clear when swirled.
We can tell that the grapes basked in the Cali heat. Juicy, rich dark berries, raspberries and notes of chocolate and smoke.
The medley of fruit is clearer on the palate, plums and dark cherries. The baking spice comes across as fruit cake and we picked up a bit of licorice. The oak is there, but we think lends more to the addition of smooth tannins and plumps up the body. Moderate acidity and smoother tannins from the warm climate.
Cali-style Merlot will pair with veal, pork, duck, beef and even chicken. But be careful when matching with green vegetables or pungent spices. Stick to sides of starches and grains with subtle seasoning.
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec
Retail: $45.00 Club: $40.49
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Retail: $52.49 Club: $40.49