Merlot has a month all its own, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. October is #MerlotMe month and my fellow Wine Pairing Weekend writers are going to share their favorite Merlots. Be sure to check them out for more fun details on this wonderful varietal.
Merlot is a grape variety that needs to be explored. It is a quiet variety, understated and elegant. Merlot is coming out of the closet and coming out front and center for an entire month as wineries come together to collaborate and celebrate. It’s a month-long celebration of this wonderful noble grape. So this October grab a few bottles and celebrate Merlotber.
With a beautiful name like Merlot(means Little Black Bird in French) you know the variety is just as precious. Merlot has flavors of juicy berries, exotic spice, and cocoa powder. It’s a wine that is smooth, elegant and soft. A wonderful wine for autumn sipping, but because of its medium body, it can be drunk year-round and can be paired with almost any type of food. I love it with pasta, salads, turkey or even a big juicy steak. Merlot is approachable, fleshy, juicy and simply put DELICIOUS.
We all know that the Sideways Effect had a detrimental impact on the sale of Merlot wines. Now fourteen years after the movie, Merlot lovers are in luck. After the plummeting sales of Merlot, many winemakers switched to making more profitable Cabernet Sauvignon. Which meant that the truly passionate Merlot producers stuck around. It separated the good producers from the not so good, resulting in smaller but higher quality Merlots on the market. Only those producers making exceptional wines with passion and zest were left.
Some of my favorite Merlots are from Washington state, though it is grown practically all around the globe. Washington Merlots are bold, bright, structured and very well balanced. One of my favorite producers from Washington is L’Ecole No 41.
L’Ecole No 41
L’Ecole N° 41 has had a long and fruitful relationship with Merlot. They are pioneers in their region as they were the third winery formed in Walla Walla. Merlot was their flagship wine and was the first wine produced in 1983, which won a gold medal. Jean and Baker Ferguson are the founders and both are teachers. With a passion for teaching, they bought the old school-house(hence the name L’Ecole). Now the family runs the winery and L’Ecole N° 41 is recognized as one of Washington State’s top producers of premium Merlot.
2016 was a spectacular vintage for Washington State. The wine is a beautiful, rich, full-bodied Merlot made from two sites; the Seven Hills Vineyard and Ferguson Vineyards(highest point in Walla Walla). Ferguson’s high elevation provides natural acidity to this wine while the Seven Hills Vineyard adds minerality and complexity.
The Estate Merlot opens up with nice fruit on the nose. Aromas of tobacco, cedar and clove follow. On the palate, there are distinct notes of black cherries, nutmeg, cinnamon, mocha, and coffee. The wine is rich, textured and concentrated with a long savory finish. Ferguson Family is making exceptional artisan wines in the Walla Walla region.
The Columbia Valley Merlot is produced from prestigious vineyards throughout the region. Layered with enticing aromas of black cherry, rose petal, and plum, this full-bodied Merlot shows balanced layers of spice and cocoa with a seamless finish of fine-grained tannins. A beautiful solid Merlot for $25.
Its a month-long celebration of Merlot. See what other suggestions my fellow wine writers have for #MerlotMe.
- Jane at Always Ravenous posts Food Pairings with Merlot.
- Jennifer at Vino Travels Italy shares Merlot Pairings for #MerlotMe Month.
- Jill at L’Occasion offers Foolproof Pairing for #MerlotMe Month.
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla says This Food-Friendly Varietal Takes You From Savories to Sweets, Snacks to Cakes.
- Deanna at Asian Test Kitchen has 6 California Merlots Paired with Mexican Food Favorites.
- Lori at Dracaena Wines makes Onion Pastry on My Plate Makes #MerlotMe So Great.
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm is on A Month Long Merlot Extravaganza.
- Martin at Enofylz Wine Blog is Exploring Meatless Merlot Pairings for #MerlotMe.
- Kat at The Corkscrew Concierge tells us Merlot is the Perfect Dining Companion.
- David at Cooking Chat matches Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash with a Napa Merlot.
- Pierre and Cynthia at Traveling Wine Profs pair A Very Well-Traveled Merlot with Vietnamese Bò Kho.
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass shares It’s #MerlotMe month. Where’s the Umami?
- Here at Syrah Queen, we are Celebrating #MerlotMe with L’Ecole No 41
- Sarah at Curious Cuisiniere gives us Hachis Parmentier and Merlot Pairing.
- Nicole from Somm’s Table is Exploring California in 5 Merlots.
- Cindy at Grape Experiences says Game Day? #MerlotMe with Ham and Cheese Sliders.
- Gwen at Wine Predator compares California vs. France #MerlotMe with Squash, Chard, and Bow Tie Pasta.
- Susannah at Avvinare matches Brazilian Merlot with Mushroom Risotto.
- Jeff, our host at Food Wine Click! writes Young Professionals Explore Merlot.