― George Eliot’s Life, as Related in Her Letters and Journals – Volume 1
I may not have a perfect date, but I do believe October is the perfect month. I adore the Fall season. The colors changing, the cool crisp evenings, the conversations around the fire pit. Fall reminds me that life is good and always puts a smile on my face. And October seems to hold the quintessential essence of Fall. Take all of this and it is a wonderful month, but when you add in that it is #MerloMe month, well, that just icing on the cake!
I am excited to be participating in #MerlotMe month again this year with my #winePW friends. Merlot has gotten a bad wrap in the past. We are all familiar with the movie scene that dug Merlot’s grave, but in reality the final nail in the coffin was due to poor farming practices. In the early 90s, Merlot vines were planted everywhere. And many of them were in regions that were not favorable to Merlot. This correlated to having too many poorly farmed vines flooding the market with lower quality wine. But those days are behind us!!
Grapes can pretty much grow anywhere. But individual varieties can not thrive everywhere. Just as we have preferences in weather that may vary from our friends and family, different species of vitis vinifera have their preferences also. Unlike us, they can’t just pack up their suitcases and move to their preferred climate.
The soil and climate are major components of viticulture that play an important role in the quality of the grapes. Having an understanding of these elements allows the vineyard owner to plant the varieties that are best suited for their land. Merlot loves chalk or calcareous soils. Soils that have are neutral to slightly alkaline are ideal. Merlot, like many varieties, do not like wet feet. Soils that are porous to drain the majority of the water, while holding on to some moisture and nutrients will help produce the highest quality fruit.
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Merlot is rather sensitive to zinc deficiency, salinity, and cold. It is known to have poor fruit set if the weather begins to get cold during bloom. If the temperature drops during bloom, Merlot has the tendency to hold onto nitrogen compounds, causing an imbalance and another avenue to lower quality fruit.
Soils and climate are important, but you must also pay attention to the vine’s growth during the season. Merlot is considered to have a medium to high vigor habit. What this means is that it has a tendency to to become out of balance between its vegetative (leaves) and reproductive (fruit) states. Unbalanced vines lead to lower quality fruit.
However, Merlot is adaptable. Change the climate, and you have a completely different profile. At its core, you can expect a wine that is a dry, medium- to full-bodied, medium acidity, medium to high alcohol, and soft tannins, but as the climate changes, so do the tasting notes!
One of the reasons I love Merlot is its ability to pair with a huge variety of foods. (another reason may be that it is an offspring of my beloved Cabernet Franc – Cab Franc x Magdeleine Noire des Charentes) I have written many posts about its pairing potential, and I have one more for you today!
Onion Pastry on My Plate Makes #MerlotMe So Great #WinePW
#MerlotMe, Baby, One More Time
You Know You Want to #MerlotMe
#MerlotMe and the Little Chef
Hello, Can You #MerlotMe?
#MerlotMe and #WinePW a Perfect Pair[ing]
Selby Winery had their first vintage in 1994 when Susie Selby and her father, Dr. David Selby came together to produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Healdsburg, CA. David traveled throughout Europe as a spinal surgeon and would bring home old-world wines to enjoy with Susie. This passion led Susie to pursue a career in the wine industry, working her way up the ladder starting as a tasting room manager, a forklift driver/Cellar Master and finally an Assistant Winemaker at a larger winery. During this time, she produced her own label, Selby Winery. All of her hands-on experience provided her with the foundation, after her father passed away in 1997 to take the leap of faith and go out on her own to continue with their dream.
Susie’s motto is “Enjoy wine; enjoy life,” Short, simple and yet so meaningful. We enjoyed this wine with one of favorite things on the planet to eat! NACHOS! I don’t really have a recipe for you, since you can make them with your favorite toppings. We used, ground turkey, chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, black olives and Pepper Jack cheese. But I can give you a giant tip! You have to cook each layer separately. Don’t pile it all on at once, you lose the ooey gooey-ness of it!
2018 Selby Winery Merlot
? medium ruby
?? medium aromas cola, vanilla, red cherry, red fruit
? dry, medium acidity, medium tannin, medium alcohol, medium body, medium flavors milk chocolate, raspberry, blueberry and red cherry, medium finish
? 14.7% ABV, SRP $24, 94% Orsi Vineyrd Merlot (Dry Creek Valley) 6% Sweetwater Springs Vineyard Cabernet Franc (Russian River Valley), extended maceration for 6 weeks, aged 14 months in 30% New French Oak and American oak, 1600 cases produced, sample
Want even more recipes to pair with your favorite Merlot? Join in the #MerlotMe festivities all October long and join #winePW on Saturday, October 10th at 8am PT. You don’t need to have a blog to join! Come share your favorite Merlot memories!
- Andrea at The Quirky Cork shares Three Turkish Merlots.
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla posts Merlot: A Varietal That Plays Well with Others.
- Cindy at Grape Experiences says to Sip Memorable Merlot with Classic Vegetarian Favorites.
- Deanna at Asian Test Kitchen offers a Fall Vegan Menu Paired with 2016 Napa Merlots.
- David at Cooking Chat shares Merlot Food Pairing: Tips and Favorites.
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator shares Meatloaf and #MerlotMe with Sonoma’s Selby and Columbia Valley’s L’Ecole No. 41.
- Jane at Always Ravenous gives us a Merlot Pairing: Baked Pasta with Sausage Ragù.
- Jeff at Food Wine Click! shares A Tale of Two Merlots at the Grill.
- Jill at L’Occasion asks What’s So Special About Merlot?
- Jennifer at Vino Travels declares Fall is Here! Warm up with a Merlot and Pot Roast Pairing.
- Lauren at The Swirling Dervish posts October is #MerlotMe Month: Here’s What I’ve Been Sipping.
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass is Kicking off #MerlotMe in the Pacific Time Zone.
- Liz at What’s in that Bottle? says Make Room for Merlot!
- Lori at Exploring the Wine Glass has Leaves on the Ground and #MerlotMe in My Glass.
- Lynn at Savor the Harvest gives us Next Gen Merlot From Where It All Started.
- Martin at Enofylz Wine Blog writes A Meatless #MerlotMe Redux.
- Nicole at Somm’s Table has 5 #MerlotMe Nights.
- Payal at Keep the Peas is Kicking Off Autumn With #MerlotMe.
- Pinny at Chinese Wine & Food Pairings celebrates #MerlotMe with Markham and L’Ecole No. 41 Merlots and Army Ramen.
- Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles posts Merlot from Elegant to Badass. Time to #Merlotme.
- Rupal at Syrah Queen writes #MerlotMe – Best Food Pairings For Merlot.
- Susannah at Avvinare says Brazilian Merlot Is Always Welcome At My Table.
- Terri at Our Good Life pairs Merlot Me with No Noodle Lasagne.
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm declares Woohoooooooo….It is #MerlotMe Month.
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I can’t think of a more inviting Friday-night pairing than turkey nachos with a nice Merlot. It’s the perfect mix of comfort food and fancy flavors; I know Gabe would love it!
we love nachos! It is often our meal when we go out to dinner. when we can actually get together again, we’ll have to split some nachos!
Wine with tacos is genius! Now I’m seriously craving some!
comfort food is what October is all about!
This is such a wonderful breakdown of some of the facets that affect Merlot in the vineyard and in the glass. Thanks so much for sharing.
thank you for the kind words Nicole!
Really enjoyable read Lori. The background info on, and characteristics of Merlot are super informational in an easy going way. I’ll take on onion pastry on my plate with Merlot, thank you!
thanks Lynn. That onion tart was so delicious!
Great background on Merlot – its likes and dislikes. Worth bookmarking for future reference. And those nachos with Merlot around a fire pit? Perfect.
thank you Linda. I appreciate the kind words to bookmark.
Swoon….start me off with such poetic language, wrap me in with a bit of comedy gold.
Your background of this grape is wonderful.
I am curious about the levitating cork?!
All in all a wonderful pairing,
thank you so much Robin. I appreciate your kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and the pairing.
Great viticulture information for Merlot. It’s TGIF here, and nachos and Merlot sound pretty good right now! Cheers!
Merlot and nachos are a great match!
I’m loving the sound of Merlot and nachos! Thank for the pro tip Lori!
thanks for reading Martin!
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