November 7 is the day set aside each year to celebrate one of the most widely planted red wine grapes in the world —
UC Davis research indicates that Cabernet Franc and an obscure variety found in 1996 now called Abouriou,begat Merlot; half-siblings are Carménère, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. It grows in many of the places Cab Sauv grows, but generally in the slightly cooler areas because it can ripen earlier and quickly. A key ingredient in Bordeaux blends, nearly two thirds of the world’s Merlot is planted in France; in Italy it is the fifth most planted grape.
Famously maligned in the film Sideways, interest in Merlot fell and plantings were removed. However, Merlot is making a comeback — and in 2017 Duckhorn’s Merlot from their Three Palms Vineyard made by Renée Ary was named Wine Spectator’s #1 Wine of the Year.
My fellow #MerlotMe bloggers and I have been doing our part to recognize and publicize this versatile food friendly wine. This year during the month of October, some of my fellow bloggers and I received a number of samples of Merlot from Washington and California to write about which we featured during last month’s Wine Pairing weekend on Sat. October 13.
But that wasn’t the only day we featured Merlot! Many of us wrote a number of posts for #MerlotMe. Here on Wine Predator in 2018, you’ll find:
- Washington #MerlotMe Paired with Ahi Tuna and Salmon for #WinePW
- #MerlotMe: Go Surf or Turf with WA’s Nine Hats
- #Halloween Pulled Pork and #MerlotMe for the WIN!
- Octpber. 29, 2018 #MerlotMe Napa: Duckhorn and La Jota w/ Flat Iron Steak, Blackberries
In the works are two more posts — Peju’s Merlot (with rabbit is the plan) and two more from Duckhorn. (For #MerlotMe in 2016 go here and here, and here; for #MerlotMe in 2017 here, and here, and here.)
What are some of your favorite bottles and producers of Merlot? What are some of your favorite pairings? How will you toast Merlot Day?