Meritage

  (MER-i-tidge [rhymes with heritage])
Meritage is the name for U.S. blends that include the traditional grapes used for left Bank Bordeaux wines that are Cabernet Sauvignon dominant.

Synonyms: Refers to blends that are predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot in various proportions. If from the Bordeaux region of France it is called Bordeaux. If from the New World names are Meritage or Bordeaux-like blend.

Wine Name: Bordeaux, Meritage, Bordeaux-like Blend

Background: Wines made outside of the Bordeaux region of France are not allowed to use the name Bordeaux. Red Meritage, as defined in the USA must consist of two or more of the following varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, St. Macaire, Gros Verdot and Carmenere. No single variety may make up more than 90 percent of the blend. This blend emulates the blend used on the left bank of the Garonne River in the Medoc, Haut Medoc and Grave areas of Bordeaux. It is different from the right bank and Entre du Mers regions which use mostly Merlot and/or Cabernet Franc in their blends.

The taste is classically that of black currants with tobacco, cedar and leather undertones from the French oak barrels used for aging.

Classic Brands and Sources: Many Bordeaux France producers; USA – Lyeth, Estancia, Dominus, Opus One, Trefethen, Joseph Phelps, Chateau Ste Michelle, St Supery

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical left bank Bordeaux

Body – medium (+)

Acidity – medium (+)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – high

Style #2 – typical right bank Bordeaux

Body – medium

Acidity – medium (-)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium (+)

Style #3 – typical U.S. Meritage

Body – full

Acidity – medium (-)

Sweetness – dry but fruity if less than 5 yrs old

Tannins – medium (+)


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs well with red, savory meats, grilled or roasted.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Beef, lamb, game, chicken, turkey, veal or pork grilled, roasted or braised, chili, hamburgers, meatloaf, mushrooms, cheese based pasta, risotto.

Cheese Pairings:
Mild and medium sharp Cheddar, Corvo, Edam, Glouchester, Muenster, Provolone (aged), Parmesan, Pecorino, Roncal, Smoked Gouda.