Meatloaf and #MerlotMe with Sonoma’s Selby and Columbia Valley’s L’Ecole No. 41 #WinePW

#MerlotMe with meatloaf! How could it take us so long to try this combination?

Meatloaf is a favorite around our house and with Sue Hill also. And easy going, versatile Merlot made the match!

Disclosure: The wines featured in this post were provided as media samples.
All opinions are my own.


  • Cheese Board: red leisceter, Delice brie, oil cured olives, gorgonzola, herbed brie, apple smoked gouda
  • Organic green beans
  • Sue’s Best Thanksgiving Spiced Squash (recipe below)  
  • Sue’s Cheesy Three Meats Meatloaf with cheesy roasted russets

Our meatloaf used a blend of three meats: two pounds ground beef, one pound ground lamb, and one and a quarter pounds ground pork.

We cooked one meatloaf in a loaf pan, and the other in a 8 x 8 pan, squeezing in russets cut in half along the sides of the loaf so that the tomatoey sauce and the cheese ran onto them. So good! Sue prepared the squash she grew with maple syrup, walnuts, brown sugar, and spice; it tasted a lot like a combo of pumpkin and pecan pie without being too sweet for the wines. Finally, we sauted organic green beans.

These dishes used many pantry, freezer, and kitchen garden ingredients from our two homes so we didn’t have to make an extra trip to the store during COVID!

2018 Selby Sonoma County Merlot
ABV 14.7%; SRP $24; sample for my review 

New to me this year is Selby Winery based in Sonoma.

In addition to Merlot, Selby Winery produced sixteen different varietals; owner/winemaker Susie Selby has won numerous awards and accolades. Susie Selby blends Merlot from several Sonoma County hillside vineyards. Barrel aged in French and American oak, the rich, opulent, velvety, full-bodied wine has tremendous aging potential and may be cellared for up to one decade. Check out Susie’s journal here. 

This wine is on sale now for $21.60!

Color: Semi translucent, bright ruby, fuschia, pink rim,

Nose: Menthol, eucalyptus, minty, cherry cordial,

Palate: Very bright, very tart, tart cherry, clean earthy finish, silty texture, mild neutral oak that does not overwhelm the wine. The grapes are able to shine in all of their brightness. Very acidic, this is going to be a great food wine. It yearns for fat and richness to make it shine.

Pairing: The wine liked the rind and the herbs in an herbed brie. Our salt cured olives were lovely with the wine bringing out the fruit in the wine. The wine also went well with our triple cream brie. I felt that the wine went alright with the blue cheese on our plate however I wanted a creamier blue cheese or that blue cheese on a burger, while Sue did not like the wine with the blue cheese at all. The Red Leichester brings out root beer cola flavors in the wine. This wine was fantastic with our squash and meatloaf. This was a fantastic meal for our Merlot.

The sweetness and savory elements of the meal was so perfect with the wine. We absolutely loved this wine with our meal.

The green beans had very unique flavors because Sue used the juices from the squash to roast them. There was the squash juice and a bit of cinnamon that was roasted with the green beans that made a fantastic companion.


2017  L’Ecole No 41 Columbia Valley Merlot
ABV 14.5%; SRP $25;  sample for my review
81% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot

In 2019, Wine & Spirits Magazine awarded L’Ecole No 41 as a Top 100 Winery of the Year. Wine & Spirits Magazine has given L’Ecole No 41 this award fifteen times, a fete achieved by only 15 other wineries in the world. Each year Wine & Spirits selects a list of the Top 100 Wineries of the World by tasting over 11k bottles of wine and determining which winery has the year’s best wines overall.

L’Ecole means “school” and that’s what you see on this label: the historic Frenchtown schoolhouse on its label located in district number 41.

The name honors the original viticulture efforts by the French who settled there and back in the early to mid 1800s.

The name L’Ecole also reflects the “old school” and French approach they have toward wine. The emphasis on tradition at L’Ecole No 40 extends beyond the name to winemaking practices which includes producing “clean, ripe, stylistically expressive and aromatic wines that let the individual site characteristics of our vineyards shine through.” Wines are unfixed and unfiltered. appreciate their sustainability efforts as well; while not organic or biodynamic, they are certified sustainable and salmon safe.

I first tasted L’Ecole’s wines in 2009 at the Wine Media Conference and I wrote about that first taste of L’Ecole here. L’Ecole No 41 has been making merlot since 1983 when they were the third winery in the Walla Walla region and the 20th in the state. Merlot is the principal varietal at L’Ecole No 41 (and an important varietal throughout Washington state).

Read more about L’Ecole No 41 here.

Color: Rich deep ruby, medium density, pale rim.

Nose: Florals, violets and carnation, forest floor, pine, pine resin, pine sap, cinnamon, cedar, baking spices; nice complexity on the nose.

Palate: In comparison to the nose, the palate is quite subdued, tart with present tannins and tart fruit: cranberry, rhubarb, pomegranate. This is another wine that yearns for food.  Bread tames the wine, and it would go great with a rosemary olive bread.

This wine has blue cheese written all over it.

Have a blue cheese burger for a fantastic pair. It was not fantastic with a triple cream brie, but with the herbed brie it was pretty good.  Hands down this wine handles strong aged cheeses. It loved the Red Leichter; tt wis even nice with the smoked gouda loving the creaminess and the smoke of the cheese.

Pairing: Fantastic with our meatloaf.  The squash was kind of like a pumpkin pecan pie with out being sweet, and with being squash instead of pumpkin, and walnut instead of pecan.

Sue stated that from now on this is her go to Thanksgiving squash recipe.

I appreciated the squash more with the Selby than the L’Ecole, but both wines went well with the meal. I also did not love it as much with the potatoes. It did not appreciate the sweet notes in the dish. It loves the  char of BBQ with out loving the sweetness of BBQ sauces. The potato with the cheese and the sauce however, was my favorite bite. I can see this with oven roasted tomatoes and goat cheese that we always love.

Recipe for Sue’s Best Thanksgiving Spiced Squash
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Cut in half a 2-3 lb squash
  • In a small bowl, combine
    > 1 T fresh sage finely chopped,
    > 1 T olive oil ,
    > 1/2 t cinnamon,
    > 1/2 t salt,
    > 1/4 t ground pepper,
    > 1/4 t nutmeg.
  • Rub mixture over squash
  • Place face down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Place in oven and cook 40 to 50 minutes until tender.
  • While squash is cooking, combine and boil 2-3 minutes to thicken
    >1 T fresh sage finely chopped,
    > 1/4 t syrup,
    > 2T maple syrup,
    > 1 1/2 T molasses,
    > 1 T apple cider vinegar,
    > 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes
  • Slice lengthwise into 1 1/2 inch strips.
  • Arrange on a serving plate
  • Drizzle walnut syrup over the top of squash strips and serve.
Recipe for Sue’s Cheesy Three Meats Meatloaf 
Makes 2 2# loafs
  • In a small bowl  combine
    > 1 cup ketchup,
    > 1/2 cup brown sugar,
    > 4 T apple cider vinegar
  • In a large bowl combine
    > 2 minced shallots,
    > 4 cloves garlic minced,
    > 4 eggs,
    > 2 T fresh chopped thyme,
    > 2T season salt,
    > 1 tsp ground pepper,
    > 4 tsp yellow mustard,
    > 4 tsp Worcestershire sauce,
    > 1/2 tsp Louisiana style hot sauce,
    > 1 cup milk,
    > 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats,
    > 2 lbs ground beef,
    > 1 lb ground lamb,
    > 1 lb ground pork (we used slightly more)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix ingredients with hands well until uniform consistency,
  • Split in half and place in 2 oiled baking dishes.
    > loaf pan or 8×8 square dish surrounded by 2 russet potatoes cut in half
    > use a 9×13 baking dish if you want more potatoes
  • Top with half of the ketchup glaze.
  • Place in oven and bake 50 minutes.
  • Cover loafs with remaining glaze
  • Sprinkle 1 to 2 cups grated cheddar cheese on each loaf.
  • Baking an additional 15 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

#MerlotMe is an annual monthlong mania about merlot! The Wine Pairing weekend group of wine writers have participated in #MerlotMe for six years, and Sue and I have participated for five! The group all write about merlot throughout the month and we all publish about it on the second weekend of October, today.

See the original invitation from Jeff at Food Wine Click! here and check out my fellow Wine Pairing weekend MerlotMe Month lovers links below:

Looking for more about Merlot– and ideas for food pairings? You’ll find:

Join us for the 2020 #MerlotMe:

PS This is post 10 of 10 for the #Blogtober challenge to publish daily! It’s #MerlotMe time again with Peju then a visit to Napa for updates on the fires, plus news of the results of the World Blind Wine Tasting Championships in France. I am also trying to post on Art Predator (which I did daily in April for Poetry Month) but between these posts and painting this mural (which I’ll also post about again not that it’s done), I’ve been busy!


25 thoughts on “Meatloaf and #MerlotMe with Sonoma’s Selby and Columbia Valley’s L’Ecole No. 41 #WinePW

  1. I so love meatloaf even in it’s most humble forms, but this looks like such a showstopping spread! You’ve given me more cravings to tempt my taste buds for the rest of my Merlots.

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. Gosh, I hadn’t thought of meatloaf and merlot, but it sounds like such a warm and cozy meal I want to have to escape the oncoming winter chill. Thanks so much for sharing Sue’s recipes too. I really do have to recreate them!

    Liked by 1 person

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