MERLOT, oh it's coming back.
Is Merlot coming back? It seems to be. Sales, particularly of premium merlot, are inch by inch improving. There are in some places a shortage of merlot now, particularly with the Napa Bordeaux blending crowd.
So why this return to some amount of favor? Well don’t thank those hipster sommeliers or the wine-geek influencers on Instagram. These groups tend towards the more obscure varietal, orange or extra natural is better mentality, and most are in love with every grape but Merlot.
The reputation and sales of merlot plummeted in the early 2000's, and not just because of the Sideways movie in 2004. Over production and a glut of poor quality vineyards producing poor quality wine filled the market. With this demise mostly only the dedicated stuck it out. In California, growers pulled out more than 10,000 acres of merlot grapes.
The revival is, we think more simply the fact that a decent merlot is a tasty drop and good ones are delicious. Because merlot generally has softer tannins and soft texture, it is well-suited to being enjoyed on its own. Merlot offers a lovely approachable food-friendly profile as well. Some classic pairings like steak and hamburgers are great pairings and are easy and enjoyable. With generous plum and dark berries as a palate profile a good Merlot will also work well alongside some fruit-based sauces glossing lamb and duck, as well. Merlot is a great option with cheeses like cheddar and gouda, that find subtle complimentary characteristics in the ripe fruit of Merlot.
This Merlot Month of October we talk about merlots from different regions and different price points. Look for the hashtag #merlotme and read about lots of different merlots from various people thanks to the good folks at #merlotme
Starting with the 2020 J. Lohr Estate Los Osos Merlot. SRP $15
The grapes come from the El Pomar District in Paso Robles which reputedly is the ideal spot for merlot. This wine is also made up of 14% Malbec and 10% Cabernet Franc. Please do not look at the price and make a decision about this wine. You will be wrong. A very enjoyable drop at a price that says you cannot afford not to drink this wine. A true 4 star wine we rate at a 6+. Check out our website for the rating scale
"The 2020 J. Lohr Estate Los Osos Merlot displays varietal aromas of black plum, black current, and violet along with a light barrel signature of baking spices and toasted pastry. Malbec in the blend contributes notes of pomegranate and hibiscus flower and brings juiciness to the palate, while Cabernet Franc adds layers of cocoa and peppery spice. The mouth-watering palate transitions to a lingering black cherry finish."
- Brendon Wood, red winemaker & Steve Peck, vice president of winemaking
Go get some a decide for yourself what you smell and taste but do get some to enjoy and oh by the way Merlot is best enjoyed from either a universal or Cabernet Sauvignon-style glass.
Cheers to you and your next glass of Merlot,
#MerlotMe is a grassroots collaboration between all Merlot-producing wineries with a mission to spread the word on how good Merlot wines are.