“Ah sweet mystery of life, at last I found you.”
November 7 is International Merlot Day according to the Wine Lover’s Calendar. While I lead off with the lyrics from a song, I still find that there is not more acceptance of Merlot, and that is still a mystery to me. I know that everyone proclaims that Cabernet (Sauvignon) is King, but if that is the case, then Merlot is the Queen. That is the lesson that I learned years ago from many who took me as a kid to mentor me about wines. It is why I am still such a staunch supporter of Saint-Emilion where Merlot shines.
When I meet people or even get messages on Social Media asking what wine that should try, especially when they tell me that most red wines are too heavy, but the dinner they are going to have calls for a red wine, I always suggest a Merlot. It is such a mellow wine even when it is young, some times Cabernet Sauvignon can take years in the cellar to mellow and now-a-days most people don’t have that luxury. Without trying to sound sexist, Merlot is sexy and smooth, and is it any wonder why women tend to gravitate to it because of those qualities. It is a graceful wine that brings instant harmony to red meats without being over bearing; and let me add that it is not a “mousy” or a “wimpy” wine at all.
It is the pure diplomat when it comes to wine, instead of being an iron fist of dominance, it covers that fist with a velvet glove (and I know that it sounds trite, but it is true) especially if it has been some time, since one has had the pleasure of a great bottle of Merlot. Bulk wine bottling that is labeled Merlot, does this wine a disservice, but that is true of all bulk wines, and they tend to be what many people gravitate towards especially in a restaurant, when they have the “house” Merlot. If one experiments and goes up a notch or two, the results and pleasures derived is unbelievable. Even in Napa Valley there are some wineries that have embraced Merlot at the expense of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. It has been one of “secrets” that even the Super Tuscany wines have learned by blending Merlot with Sangiovese. Of course I make no secret that I am enamored with this varietal, and I cannot foresee a time, when I won’t be.