Mount Palomar Winery Fall Special: 2010 Artist Series Meritage
Now that fall is here and it’s finally starting to cool down in Temecula (it’s supposed to stay under 85 this week!) it’s time to talk about our fall specials. Right now you can get 6 or more bottles of our Meritage wine for 40% off, and wine club members get 50% off - http://bit.ly/mpmeritage Before you buy a bottle (or 6) you may have a few questions, like what is Meritage wine? Is that the name of a grape, or a place, or what?
In Brief: A Meritage is a wine blend of varietals originating from Bordeaux to produce a more traditional wine that is superior to a lone varietal.
If you’d like a little more detailed information, here are 5 things you (probably) don’t know about Meritage wine.
“Meritage” is a trademarked name, created in the 80’s by a group of vintners looking for a name to describe New World blended wines that followed Bordeaux traditions. The name “Meritage” comes from blending the word “merit”, referring to the high quality of the grapes used, and “heritage”, meant to reflect the long history of blended wines. It is pronounced like Heritage, but just be sure to pronounce it close enough to get it in your glass. Any winery that wants to use the term “Meritage” must belong to the Meritage Alliance, the group that owns the trademark.
2) It’s held to a very specific set of standards
To understand what is so great about a Meritage wine, try to think about what is so great about the wine traditions of the Bordeaux region of France. The Alliance controls the name ‘Meritage’ much like France controls the name ‘Bordeaux’, and holds wineries that use the term to certain standards. The American wine market tends to be Varietal driven, meaning we Americans tend to buy wine by the grape, favoring wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Europeans tend to buy wine by the region that produced the wine, and they will often buy traditional blended wines. Meritage is the New World’s way to return to the wine making traditions of the Bordeaux region. There are many people who love Cabernet Sauvignon and that is great, but the grape by old tradition was never intended to be a lone varietal. For many, the opinion is that Cabernet Sauvignon and related grapes are best when used as part of a blend.
3) It does great things for the grape
Various Bordeaux varietals often develop earthy vegetative characters particularly that of Green Bell Pepper, which in excess are a flaw. The vintners of Bordeaux have a long tradition of managing the character of their wines through what is done in both the vineyard and the cellar. One of the most important management methods is to properly blend their wines for a superior balance of taste and character. Meritage producers follow these blending traditions. When creating a Meritage it can be either red or white, but most commonly these wines are red.
4) It can only be made from very specific grapes
Meritage is a classic blend made with wines that come from at least two traditional Bordeaux grape varieties. Red wines may be a blend of two or more varietals that include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, St. Macaire, Gros Verdot and Carmenere. White wines may be blends of two or more of the varietals Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Sauvignon Vert. The blend will be consistently good from one vintage to the next, while specific varietals may vary in quality year to year. The vines of Bordeaux are a special group as they tend to be genetically closely related, and are adapted for the moist Atlantic influences that would rot the fruit of other varieties from drier regions. These Bordeaux varietals commonly have loose clustered fruit that allow greater air circulation and thicker berry skins that resist rot and give the wines a distinctive character that differ from the varietals from other regions.
This tradition of excellence brought us to choose the Meritage to be bottled as our second edition to our Artist Series. The nose is spicy with floral hints. Smooth and round in the mouth, this blend is a soft melding of plum, cherry, currents and spice. Complex while easy to drink, the 2010 Meritage provides an easy pairing with many dishes, in particular dishes of beef or lamb and red sauces. You can buy it online here – http://bit.ly/mpmeritage and remember, if you buy 6 or more bottles, you’ll get 40% off.
If you’d like to try our Artist Series Meritage, you can come by the tasting room, open every day from 10 – 6 on the winery grounds at 33820 Rancho California Rd. in Temecula, CA. You can get directions and more information on the tasting room page - http://bit.ly/mptastingroom For regular updates about new things at Mount Palomar, including new sales, special events, blog updates, and news about our new Restaurant (opening soon!) join our mailing list at http://bit.ly/mpemails