It’s the last week of October – and the final few days of the annual #MerlotMe event. Each year the Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers join forces with participating wineries to celebrate one of the world’s most popular grapes. As you might imagine, it leads to some tasty food and wine duos perfect for the fall season.
- Andrea 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”
- 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“
Note: I received this wine as a complimentary media sample; opinions expressed here are my own.
The wine I sampled was the 2016 Napa Valley Merlot, with all fruit coming from the Rutherford Estate Vineyard. If you’re familiar with Napa Valley, then you know that the Rutherford Bench is a special place: a stretch of mineral-rich alluvial soils, mostly sandy clay, originating in the Mayacamas Mountains.
The vineyard comprises 35 acres of traditional Bordeaux varieties planted at an elevation of 150 feet. A Mediterranean climate, with warm days and cooler nights, allows for a long, dry growing season; grapes are able to ripen fully and retain enough acidity to keep the wines fresh.
Good Stewards of the Land
St. Supéry earned the Napa Green Land certification in 2008, followed by Napa Green Winery approval in 2012. Together these guidelines represent a “soil-to-bottle” approach to winemaking, one that considers viticulture and viniculture two halves of a whole. As the health and productivity of the land are interrelated, decisions in the fields and in the cellar are taken with the entirety of the estate in mind.
2016 St. Supéry Napa Valley Rutherford Estate Vineyard Merlot (14.5% abv; $50 SRP)
This wine is a blend of Merlot (88%), Cabernet Sauvignon (6%), Cabernet Franc (4%), and Petit Verdot (2%). Side note: St. Supéry also makes varietal wines from each of the aforementioned grapes.
2016 was a great growing season, starting off warm and ending on a cooler note which allowed the grapes to ripen slowly. Harvest was done by hand, after which the fruit was double-sorted: first by cluster, then by individual berry, to ensure only perfectly healthy grapes were selected. Fermentation took place at warm temperatures followed by extended maceration on the skins to extract color and structural elements. The wine was then pressed and transferred to barrels for 19 months.
The oak regimen consists of 100% French oak (43% first use); 29% of the berries were fermented in barrel as well.
Color: Is it deep ruby or purple? I’m torn. Beautiful either way . . .
Nose: Ripe red, black, and blue fruit (berries, plums, a little cherry); a mix of vanilla, cocoa powder, and cinnamon wafts from the glass.
Palate: Full-bodied but well-balanced, with ripe fruit as on the nose balanced by medium+ acidity. Tannins make their presence known but are silky-smooth. This is a very rich, concentrated wine that tastes like it could develop for a few more years. And it is absolutely delicious.
Sometimes you just have to go with a classic: this wine was so lovely I didn’t want anything on the plate to compete with it. Gabe and I grilled a big rib-eye steak seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of dried Sicilian herbs. A quick arugula salad with lemon juice and olive oil, and we were ready to enjoy.
Super-delish! But I think this wine could easily hold its own with bolder flavors: grilled lamb chops or even a long-simmered lamb and vegetable stew anyone?
Get to Know St. Supéry via Virtual Tastings and Chef Demonstrations
The winery is hosting a series of virtual events featuring their wines paired with seasonal dishes. Each InJoy Entertaining episode offers tips on how to welcome friends and family over the holidays. There’s no charge to participate and, if you’re interested, you can purchase the wines online in time for your particular tasting.
According to the website there are four events remaining: October 29th, November 5th, November 12th, and November 19th. I’m eyeing the one on the 12th, which pairs the Napa Valley Estate Elu with Roasted Salmon with Herb Beurre Rouge.
Maybe I’ll see you there!