October is International Merlot Month with November 7th chosen as #InternationalMerlotDay. Here’s how to celebrate the flagship event of the season, #MerlotMe, with pairings that work well, work easily and work ready for anything.
I love the ring of the name: like, gimme a glass of Merlot, willya? It’s a celebration of ease of enjoyment, the versatility, the history and the abundance of high-quality bottles from around the world.
For more reading, here’s my Merlot toolbox:
The 2019 event will be the seventh annual celebration of #MerlotMe and the fifth year our Wine Pairing Weekend writers’ group has participated. The #MerlotMe event gathers enthusiasts and producers in the name of enjoying this variety, which is the “third leading red varietal after Cabernet Sauvignon and Red Blends purchased by Americans” according to data from Nielsen.
The event organizers report that in 2018, “#MerlotMe reached almost 20 million wine drinkers and generated more than 72 million impressions in over 40 states and 30 countries, including New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Chile, Argentina and France.”
Thanks to the wineries that have generously provided samples to our group. This year we are opening bottles from these participating wineries:
I’ve also enjoyed bottles recently from Freemark Abbey (2015 Napa Valley Merlot, $34) and Murrieta’s Well (2016 Livermore Valley Merlot, $46)— though these wineries aren’t necessarily part of the #MerlotMe crew, they are celebrating Merlot Month.
The title of this piece uses a word that’s a bit funny: foolproof, meaning these suggestions won’t do you wrong. By this I mean that Merlot, as a red wine that is relatively easy to acquire, will go handily with many of the things that people tend to prepare on a regular basis.
There is also quality Merlot available at any pricepoint. While some of the world’s most expensive bottles, primarily from Bordeaux, are Merlot-based, the list above illustrates the scope of price tags on the docket. For $16 you can get Bonterra’s organic Merlot — a reasonable price for a wine made with such care. While this list tends towards the west coast of the U.S., there’s an import from Chile bouncing in at $12: Casillero Del Diablo’s 2018 Merlot.
Merlot can be lively or lush, fruity or earthy. This depends on where and how it is grown. Plantings can be found just about anywhere the wine thrives: France, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Montenegro, Slovenia, Israel, China, Japan, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Mexico and India. In the U.S. California, Washington, New York, Texas, Virginia, Ohio and Oregon are all Merlot-producing states.
Merlot, when done well, has an ideal balance of acidity and tannins. Lean proteins are totally foolproof here as are roasted veggies and even tomato-based sauces and dishes. Merlot can be fetching with mushrooms and hard cheeses as well as caramelized proteins and veg. Hearty pasta, cheesy risotto and braised meats are also lovely with Merlot.
I uncovered some lovely suggestions that I’ve got lined up for my kitchen:
Wine Pairing Weekend
Take a look below at all the great ideas for your next bottle of Merlot.
- Jane at Always Ravenous posts Food Pairings with Merlot.
- Jennifer at Vino Travels Italy shares Merlot Pairings for #MerlotMe Month.
- Here at L’Occasion we offer Foolproof Pairing for #MerlotMe Month.
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla says This Food-Friendly Varietal Takes You From Savories to Sweets, Snacks to Cakes.
- Deanna at Asian Test Kitchen has 6 California Merlots Paired with Mexican Food Favorites.
- Lori at Dracaena Wines makes Onion Pastry on My Plate Makes #MerlotMe So Great.
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm is on A Month Long Merlot Extravaganza.
- Martin at Enofylz Wine Blog is Exploring Meatless Merlot Pairings for #MerlotMe.
- Kat at The Corkscrew Concierge tells us Merlot is the Perfect Dining Companion.
- David at Cooking Chat matches Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash with a Napa Merlot.
- Pierre and Cynthia at Traveling Wine Profs pair A Very Well-Traveled Merlot with Vietnamese Bò Kho.
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass shares It’s #MerlotMe month. Where’s the Umami?
- Rupal at Syrah Queen is Celebrating Merlot with L’Ecole No 41.
- Sarah at Curious Cuisiniere gives us Hachis Parmentier and Merlot Pairing.
- Nicole from Somm’s Table is Exploring California in 5 Merlots.
Cindy at Grape Experiences says Game Day? #MerlotMe with Ham and Cheese Sliders.
- Gwen at Wine Predator compares California vs. France #MerlotMe with Squash, Chard, and Bow Tie Pasta.
- Susannah at Avvinare matches Brazilian Merlot with Mushroom Risotto.
- Jeff, our host at Food Wine Click! writes Young Professionals Explore Merlot.
The folks are encouraging everyone to post a short to Merlot on Social media this month. Let me know in the comments about yours!