In 1988 wine was casual and sophisticated, still more European than International and it’s exactly when the concept of Meritage was born. Take the word merit and pair it with heritage and you get Meritage, a term used to classify wines modeled after a French Bordeaux but made with grapes usually grown in California and other places. It’s not a common grocery store name that routinely gets shelf space but an intriguing name that sounds more like a mixture of state policy and a prize for good behavior. Within the shadows of this recent hybrid wine, a growing popularity ferments, kind of like a low-budget indie movie with unknown actors yet to be famous.
Any winemaker can blend a batch of table wine and label it their own, but how does the consumer know which bottle sips best? Here’s where the concept of Meritage plays a role, not only enlightening the consumer but reassuring winemakers that blending is an art rather than a sales pitch for high-class jug wine. The word Meritage helps identify wines that represent the highest form of the art of blending. A red Meritage wine must be made with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the classic Bordeaux grape varieties. The proportions may vary, but at least three of the grape varieties must be used. For white Meritage, only Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon are allowed.
Taste for yourself the merits of this not so well known but charismatic style of wine Tuesday night, May 17 at Saint Rocke’s Vintage Room by purchasing discount tickets through South Bay Events. Tickets are $25.00 at the door but only $20.00 when buy online at SBE.