October is awareness month of many causes like Down syndrome and Breast Cancer and wines, spirits, even specific cocktails have their specific day or month. October is Merlot month. You can join the fun this month with the hashtag #merlotme on twitter.
When you mention Merlot to many people it is like starting a discussion about your favorite Members Only jacket.
Merlot was a hot trend. I remember when many California producers had their Merlot on allocation. It was as hard to get as a bottle of Blanton's or Weller 12 year is today.
I remember the specific day when I realized the sun was setting on Merlot's as the it wine. I was watching the Today show and when someone mentioned drinking a glass of Merlot Katie Couric proclaimed that she didn't think we were supposed to be drinking Merlot anymore. It wasn't cool. And that was it. We all know the story about the movie. Miles and Sideways killed a perfectly good grape.
I get it. During Merlot mania the quality went down. Lower quality imports from around the world flooded the market and bastardized Merlot and what Americans were mostly drinking in Merlot was very light with little complexity. While there are still low cost, low quality options available much of that supply has dried up and the producers that always made high quality Merlot are still here......waiting for us.
I'll admit it. I'm guilty. My cellar doesn't have much Merlot in it. It isn't that I don't drink Merlot because I certainly do. I love Merlot. Merlot is too great to be sent to the Island of Misfit Toys.
I have a proposal. Let's remember what we fell in love with about Merlot in the first place. Simply, Merlot was a big red like Cabernet but with softer tannins. The flavor profile is blackberry, plum, cocoa, earth notes like clove, vanilla and even leather. Some of the best examples are huge wines that will fool the untrained (and trained) taster into thinking they are drinking Cabernet Sauvignon. It is easy to simply to recommend the expensive, iconic or highly allocated examples. I won't do that here.
High quality Merlot is awesome. If you haven't revisited it lately I would highly encourage you to do so. If you don't know where to start I've included a short list of some that are worthy all in $20-30 price point and you should find readily available at your favorite retailer or see on a wine list.
Charles Krug Merlot $22
Chateau St. Michelle Cold Creek Merlot $29
Decoy by Duckhorn $25
Francis Coppola Diamond Series $20
Frei Brothers Merlot $20
Joseph Carr Merlot $25
Napa Cellars Merlot $22
Waterbrook Reserve Merlot $24
Wente Sandstone Merlot $20
That my friends is what Rod is drinking! :-)