While blending our 2016 Glenwood Cellars wines last year, I was presented with the opportunity to produce a Merlot, something I had never considered before. I knew that the popularity of Merlot had declined since the late 1990s (as I reported in my blog on May 1, 2019). In the same blog I reported that the indications are that Merlot wines are in the middle of a strong comeback.
When our winemaker Bruce Devlin suggested we produce a Merlot, the two of us had a lot of discussion about its popularity and the pros and cons of Merlot. After those discussions I decided to proceed and we produced 195 cases of our first Glenwood Cellars Merlot.
What is Merlot Wine Like?
The Merlot grape has strong ties to France and is in fact related to the French grape Cabernet Franc. There are several ways that Merlot is pronounced; two examples are “mur-loh” or “mair-loh.” The grape has a deep black-blue color. The skin is thin and very delicate.
Merlot is a dry wine, comparatively low in tannins. This creates a less bitter experience on the finish and makes Merlot softer and easier to consume than many of its counterparts.
All of the grapes for my 2016 Merlot come from Ballentine Vineyards, just north of St. Helena, Calif. The grapes were harvested between September 19 and October 11, 2016.
The 2016 vintage produced very big Merlot grapes due to an ideal growing season which allowed plenty of hang time (they didn’t have to rush the harvest). The 2016 Merlot had ample growing time allowing the flavor and tannin development to keep pace with sugar accumulation thus creating excellent, well-balanced flavors and intense colors according to winemaker Bruce Devlin.
Carl’s Tasting Notes
The varietal composition of our 2016 Merlot is:
7% Cabernet Franc
3.5% Petit Verdot
1.5% Petite Sirah
The wine is a big seamless, luxurious Merlot. It’s packed full of dense aromas of dark fruit, crème brûlée and chocolate. The wine is medium- to full-bodied with a rich velvety texture featuring dark berry flavors and hints of pepper and spices. The wine finishes with mild acidity and hints of vanilla and cream that provide a wonderful textured mouth-feel. The alcohol content is 15.2% and we produced 195 cases. The wine was released in the first part of August 2019. Enjoy this versatile Merlot with steak, poultry or light meats. It can also be enjoyed on its own.
Next Wine Dinner
Our next LEX 530 Wine Dinner will be held next week on Tuesday, August 20th at LEX 530 in Elkhart, Indiana. Get your tickets now for this End of Summer Wine Dinner that will feature premium wines that will pair well with each of the five-courses, prepared by Executive Chef Chad Coryn. Check out the menu here. For more information and to purchase your tickets go here. We generally limit our wine dinners to 50 guests.
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Until next week,
Calendar of Events
- August 18 – International Pinot Noir Day
- August 29 – International Cabernet Day
- September 20 – International Grenache Day
- November 7 – International Merlot Day
- November 14 – International Tempranillo Day
- November 20 – International Zinfandel Day
- December 4 – Cabernet Franc Day
- December 20 – National Sangria Day
- December 31 – National Champagne Day