Leaves on the Ground and #MerlotMe in my Glass

George Eliot

“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” [Letter to Miss Lewis, Oct. 1, 1841]”
― George Eliot, 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 Dracaena Winesfriends. 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! 

Comparing tasting notes of warm climate vs cool climate Merlot wine.

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 

image: Selby Winery

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!  

~Sláinte! 

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22 thoughts on “Leaves on the Ground and #MerlotMe in my Glass”

  1. 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!

    1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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,

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