Do you love Merlot? If so, you’re not alone: there’s now an entire month devoted to wines made from this grape, whose origins lie in the vineyards of Bordeaux. Giving rise to wines with widespread appeal, Merlot is now planted all over the world.
This Saturday, October 10th, the Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers explore some of their favorite Merlot wines, along with delicious dishes to serve with them. We’ll be chatting on Twitter at 11 am ET and we’d love for you to join us. Share your favorite #MerlotMe pairings by following our hashtag #WinePW, and make sure to add it to your tweets. Hope to see you there!
Here’s a preview of what we’ll be talking about:
- AndAndrea at The Quirky Cork shares “MerlotMe with Three Turkish Merlots“
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Merlot: A Varietal That Plays Well with Others“
- Cindy at Grape Experiences shares “Sip Memorable Merlot with Classic Vegetarian Favorites“
- Deanna at Asian Test Kitchen shares “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 shares “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 shares “What’s So Special About Merlot?“
- Jennifer at Vino Travels shares “Fall is Here! Warm up with a Merlot and Pot Roast Pairing”
- Lauren at The Swirling Dervish shares “October is #MerlotMe Month: Here’s What I’ve Been Sipping“
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass shares “Kicking off #MerlotMe in the Pacific time zone”
- Liz at What’s in that Bottle? shares “Make Room for Merlot!“
- Lori at Exploring the Wine Glass shares “Leaves on the Ground and #MerlotMe in my Glass“
- Lynn at Savor the Harvest shares “Next Gen Merlot From Where It All Started“
- Martin at Enofylz shares “A Meatless #MerlotMe Redux“
- Nicole at Somms Table shares “5 #MerlotMe Nights“
- Payal at Keep the Peas shares “Kicking Off Autumn With #Merlotme”
- Pinny at Chinese Wine & Food Pairings shares “#MerlotMe with Markham and L’Ecole No. 41 Merlots and Army Ramen”
- Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles shares “Merlot from elegant to badass. Time to #Merlotme.”
- Rupal at Syrah Queen shares “#MerlotMe – Best Food Pairings For Merlot”
- Susannah at Avvinare shares “Brazilian Merlot Is Always Welcome At My Table”
- Terri at Our Good Life shares “Merlot Me with Noodless Lasagne“
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Woohoooooooo….It is #MerlotMe month“
Thank You for the Samples!
Our group has participated with the founders of #MerlotMe for the past few years, offering sample bottles to registered bloggers. I’ve been grateful for the opportunity, especially this year, in light of the devastating wildfires in California and the struggles businesses and individuals are facing during the pandemic.
The wine community is generous and looks out for its own, and I’m proud to be a small part of it.
Special thanks to these folks for sharing their wine, wisdom, and good will:
Gwen McGill, Merlot Month Coordinator
Throughout October I’ll be sharing wine and food pairings highlighting each of the sample bottles I’ve received, so stay tuned for future posts here on the blog and also on my Instagram feed.
For the #WinePW chat I’ll be talking about the 2017 Markham Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot.
Surf and Turf with Markham Napa Valley Merlot
Surf and turf was not my dinner plan. I had intended to grill two pieces of ahi tuna, put together a nice salad, and pour a crisp, Italian white wine.
But I left Gabe in charge of the shopping.
While I appreciated his help with this weekly chore, what came out of the grocery bags didn’t exactly match up with what was on my list. Instead of two pieces of tuna, there was just one; similar situation with the steaks. I ended up with one of each, so pivoted to surf and turf on the fly.
A happy accident, as I had the perfect wine to accompany it!
The 2017 Markham Napa Valley Merlot worked well with both proteins and was just plain delicious. It is a wine of 100% Merlot from three single vineyards: Yountville Estate (50%); Hoppa House Vineyard (23%); and Little Cannon Vineyard (27%). The grape juice spent 14 days in contact with the skins and then was fermented in stainless steel vats. It was then transferred to French oak barrels (50% new) for 17.5 months.
My tasting notes are full of red and black fruit aromas, ripe but not overly so. There are inviting notes of baking spices and cocoa, a little toast, and a hint of vanilla. The long finish lingers with black raspberry and mint, and makes you want to repeat the experience all over again. Of particular note: the wine is light and fresh despite its 14.6% alcohol level. Its structure is welll-balanced, with medium+ acidity, medium tannins, and medium+ body.
Our surf and turf pairing shows just how versatile this Napa Valley Merlot is: hearty enough to match an herb-grilled steak; flexible enough to flatter the ahi tuna. This is a wine that will appeal to all palates, pleasing both those who like stuctured reds with tannin and those who appreciate Merlot’s softer, more amiable side.
We drank every last drop.
About Markham Vineyards
Conscious that making good wine entails being a good steward of the environment, Markham has adapted its vineyard and cellar practices to respect local sustainability standards. Farming has been certified Napa Green Land since 2010, with certification for Napa Green Winery following suit in 2013. The estate also carries the Fish Friendly Farming seal, which protects local watersheds and the salmon and trout who spawn there, as well as songbirds, raptors, frogs, and coyotes.
Stroll around the vineyards and you’ll find bee boxes and owl houses that support biodiversity; peek between the vine rows and you’ll see cover crops meant to limit soil erosion and protect against heat and drought. Water conservation is a major concern, and Markham is committed to recycling 100% of all wastewater.
You can read more about their green efforts on the website.
Merlot is the flagship variety at Markham and Kimberlee Nicholls, head winemaker since 1993, sees it as a great canvas on which to showcase the grape’s unique character and Napa’s terroir. After tasting the 2017 Estate Merlot, I’m eager to explore the contibutions made by each of the three vineyards included in the blend.
How to Purchase this Wine
In honor of #MerlotMe, Markham has discounted all Merlot wines 15-25%, and is offering one-cent shipping on orders of a case or more. The promotion is available through October 31, 2020 on purchases made through their website.
Thanks to #WinePW, #MerlotMe, and the wineries that participated in this year’s celebration of one of the world’s favorite grapes. I hope you’ll enjoy a few bottles of Merlot during October and, if you don’t mind, please post your tasting notes, food pairings, and favorites on social media so all of us can enjoy them too!