I love when WineShop At Home comes out with a fantastic big, bad red. And boy did they do that this month. Our Sommersville Cellars Red Meritage is to die for. In this article, we’ll explore Meritage wines and look at our latest entry into the category. Thank you to Meritage Alliance for their help with this article.
What is Meritage?
Meritage is a term used to describe Bordeaux-style red and white wine blends made by members of the Meritage Alliance. They are classic Bordeaux blends made domestically. Currently, 320 wineries are members of the alliance. Please note that the term is pronounced meritige, which rhymes with heritage. The origin of the word is the combination of the two words merit and heritage. Merit reflects the quality of the grapes, and heritage recognizes the centuries-old tradition of blending.
These wines come in red and white:
- Reds are blends of these traditional Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet France, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. There are a few very rare Bourdeaux reds that can also be included: St. Macaire, Gros Verdot and Carmenère.
- Whites are blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
For a blended wine to get the Meritage designation, no single variety can account for more than 90 percent of the final blend. Also, no non-Bordeaux grapes can be included.
Here is a great video from the Meritage Alliance that goes into further detail about these wonderful wines: https://youtu.be/peZDioPjzOw
Why Are Meritage Wines So Cool?
The experts use all kinds of beautiful words to describe the amazing nature of these blended wines: complex, diverse on the palette, balanced, elegant and robust. These wines are age worthy but are also quite drinkable in their youth.
What Should You Expect from a Red Meritage?
Red Meritage wines historically have been among the world’s most highly rated wines. The experts describe these red blends with all the descriptors above, plus they talk about these wines having a smooth, silky texture.
Chefs talk about the food friendliness of these red blends. They say that when they have a Cabernet or a Merlot to pair, they feel somewhat constrained. The blends allow them to be far more creative with their food choices, because they aren’t confined to a single type of wine.
What Should You Expect from a White Meritage?
White Meritage wines, while much less common, are some of the most elegant and exquisite white wines you can find. The perfect accompaniment to seafood and poultry, these wines are very food friendly, but also are great on their own. Unlike many white wines, these blends are great for cellaring, growing more complex with age.
My experience with White Meritage is a perfect combination of acidity from the Sauvignon Blanc, coupled with an oily, honey finish from the Semillon. A long, wonderful, complex tasting experience.
Our 2020 Somersville Red Meritage
In this wine, we blended 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc and 8% Petit Verdot, all of which were sustainably grown in Lodi. These three varietals bring their own twist to the tannins, color and structure. This young, vigorous dry red blend has a deep purple robe.
The nose is intense with dark fruit like blackberry, cherry and black currant. A second nose of mature characters of leather, tobacco and cigar box is also perceptible. This wine is built for longevity and will start displaying more mature characters throughout its aging. This wine has a lot of depth, balance and a silky finish.
The wine is available for $35. Please let me know if you’d like to buy a few bottles.
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
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