Once a month we do a themed wine tasting in our office. This is quite possibliy one of the most successful interest groups we do and it is always an education and a lot of fun. I have run a few of them myself with one of my favorites ones being a blind tasting of expensive vs. inexpensive wines.
This past week we did a tasting of 5 Merlots. Ask someone what they think of Merlot and I can almost guarantee you will hear the famous quote from the movie Sideways when Miles Raymond said “No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any F***ing Merlot!”. This one single quote practically broke the Merlot wine market, which is insane. I happen to love Merlot and have enjoyed watching it make a great comeback.
The five wines we enjoyed were:
Luc Pirlet Merlot (Languedoc, France) – $12
Tellus Vineau Bordeau, de-classified St. Emilion (Bordeaux, France) – $18
90+ Cellars Merlot (Mendocino, CA) – $12
Buena Vista Merlot (Sonoma, CA) – $18
Hunt & Harvest Rutherford Merlot (Napa Valley) – $28
My favorite of all of these wines was in fact one of the cheapest and that was the 90+ Cellars Merlot. This wine is so perfectly balanced and delightfully drinkable, it is hard to stop after one glass. Fruit aromas lead you to think the first taste may be bitingly sweet but in fact it is silky smooth with a nice fruity balance of dark plums and and an earthy finish. This is an awesome, reasonably priced every day wine to enjoy with friends.
Merlot lends itself to many food pairings given that is not too light or heavy. You really cant go wrong with white meats, risotto dishes or lightly spiced darker meat. I would try it with this super recipe for Balsamic Chicken with Mushrooms.
Something to know about 90+ Cellars, is that it is a Boston based company which doesn’t actually produce wine. They purchase exceel wines directly from wineries and sell under the 90+ Cellars label. A guarantee is that the wines they purchase has to meet a high criteria with one of them being a 90 and higher (of course 90+) rating. They do not share the name of the wineries. While I will of course buy this wine again and again, part of me is really curious about who the actual producer is. Its a genius idea if you think about it!
I am looking forward to seeing what else they have on offer at this year’s Boston Wine Expo.