I met with a young couple about nine months ago to create their wine profile. A “wine profile,” is a service I offer at a private club where I meet with members to taste wines and discuss the styles, varietals and flavors of wines that they like and dislikes. I then create a list of wine recommendations that will both please and challenge their palates. At this meeting, I asked the couple for a list of their “go to wines.” They are red wine lovers and listed: Malbec, California Cabernet Sauvignon and Saint-Emilion. “Whaaaatttt? I was impressed.
“That’s great, I don’t meet many Merlot drinkers.”
“No, we don’t like merlot.” He answered.
I went on to explain that Saint-Emilion wines are a blend of several grapes: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Every producer uses a different combination, however Saint-Emilion wines are predominantly Merlot, followed by Cabernet Franc, and then Cabernet Sauvignon. In Bordeaux, the wines are named after the appellation, so many consumers are not aware of the grape varieties that make up the wine. Yesterday, I mentioned that Chardonnay is the most disrespected grape variety. Well, Merlot is running a close second. Like Chardonnay, Merlot grows in various climates. Because of this, there are many producers bottling a lot of boring Merlots. When looking for a quality merlot (any wine really) it’s about location and producer- grapes grown in their ideal conditions in the hands of the right winemaker.
One of my most memorable wine experiences of 2018 was when I fooled one of my I-Don’t-Drink-Fucking-Merlot Friends into drinking merlot. I waited patiently for her to try the wine, watching out of the corner of my eye for a reaction. “Wow, this is delicious.” She said. I jumped up and down, screaming (yes, I really did) “It’s merlot!” We had a good laugh. The “I-told-you-so- wine,” was the 2016 Chateau Rocher-Galou Saint-Emilion. This wine is 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 100% delicious. The wine has a velvety, plush mouthfeel, soft tannins with dark fruit and herbal notes. This is a Merlot that you should be fucking drinking.