12/12/05 – Merlot (and other assorted reds)

By Jesse on December 12, 2005

People of the wine world,

Welcome to our last meeting of the calendar year, Tuesday evening at 9 PM.  Hopefully your busy holiday schedules won’t be so obtrusive as to preclude your attendance at what promises to be an awesome, awesome meeting.  We’re gonna have a lot of fun, and we’re gonna drink a lot of good wine, and we’re going to have some delicious food as well (read on).

We’ll be drinking Merlot, the last major red grape that we haven’t touched on yet (some snobs might say that I just made a dubious claim and would cite such grapes as Sangiovese and Gamay as major reds that we haven’t done, but I’d retort by saying “well shut up cause we did do Gamay, dumbass, you must not have been paying attention, and as for Sangiovese, we’re obviously going to do a whole Chianti section next year,” to which they might reply, “to be sure, Chianti is indeed the noble grape’s classic home, but I do hope you and your ruffian friends are aware that some delightful Sangioveses are grown right here in California,” to which I would be likely to spew, “yeah, well your mom is grown right here in California too, jerk, doesn’t mean we’re gonna be tasting her tomorrow night.”  And that would probably end the conversation right there.  But that won’t be a problem, because we don’t have any snobs in wine club, do we?). 

Merlot is a wine best served in a glass.  It’s one of the most popular reds on the market and is also blended frequently with Cabernet Sauvignon.  As many of you know, it was the poor grape so harshly maligned in Sideways, but there are some great examples out there regardless.  To quote wikipedia: Most connoisseurs consider it “easy to drink” when compared to other red wines. Its softness and “fleshiness”, combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot an ideal grape to blend with the sterner, later-ripening Cabernet. Many Merlots are made in a style popular with newer red wine drinkers (though to be clear, good Merlots accompanying appropriate food are popular with many regular wine drinkers as well).

In addition, since it’s the last varietal meeting we’ll be having before we start up with region-based wines next year, please feel free to bring any other red grape you discover.  Just try to avoid the ones we’ve already done: Pinor Noir, Cabernet, Zinfandel, Shiraz/Syrah, and Gamay (Beaujolais), if memory serves.  Anything else is fair game, including Sangiovese, Grenache, Tempranillo, and Nebbiolo.

We’re meeting at Erik’s house, and he has hinted at the possibility that some of his signature grilled vegetables may accompany tomorrow’s tasting.  Here’s his address with some directions that he’s been kind enough to provide:

(address, extensive directions)

So that’ll do it for the year!  Thanks so much for making these first ten meetings remarkably successful and fun.  Bring a friend tomorrow night so that we go out with a bang.  Also, if you remember, do bring an extra wine glass or two.  We’ll see you crazy winos tomorrow night.