Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wine Blogging Wednesday #55: North vs. South

Many thanks to Rémy Charest of The Wine Case for hosting the 55th Wine Blogging Wednesday. His chosen theme for the month is "North vs. South." We were given the assignment to choose a same style and variety of wine from the north and south and make that comparison. And the north could be the distance from Canada while comparing a wine from Chile. I decided to choose closer to home: Washington State Merlot vs. California Merlot.

The North:
Call it a chip on the shoulder. I call it a reason to brag and toot a horn. Toot! Toot!

Ten years ago I joined an online community – one of the first around and way before Facebook was a glimmer in… This online community is a plethora of “noted authors, programmers, journalists, activists and other creative people” who swap their convictions and banter. The majority of the membership is based out of northern California and boy did I get my ass burnt to a crisp with their hazing flame torch when I wrote I had a fondness for Merlot. Of course I was referring to Merlot from Washington State. Is there any other kind? My taste buds were maligned and insulted. I was asked if I paired Tater Tot casserole and Jello pie with my Merlot? You know, because them there us folk here in War-shington are just a bunch of hicks who dine on Spotted Owl soup. We just taint near nuff sofeesticatum like them there are in Marin County, CA.

And I was told time and time again by some of the members that Merlot was merely a blending grape. Was it my fault that the only Merlots they were familiar with was their own indistinguishable grape that would be hard to define in a blind tasting of early California Merlots? And which later that reputation became the spin for a cranky-ass Hollywood character who ranted and threatened to leave a restaurant if anybody ordered “f ___ing Merlot!

It was obvious to me my fellow online members had never tasted a Washington State Merlot. What’s the old saying, “He who laughs last, laughs best?” What’s that noise? Michel Rolland, influential Bordeaux-based oenologist, laughing all the way to the bank after he produced his fourth sold-out vintage of an intense Merlot from Washington State under the label, "Pedestal" produced right here in little ol’ Walla Walla, WA?

Okay, now that my own cranky-ass rant is done, let me tell you about the most recent Merlot that enhanced a small dinner party. I had recently tasted the Forgeron Cellars Merlot -2003 and knew I needed to serve it to my guest, a student of viticulture and enology to get his opinion. It turns out my guest brought over the exact same Merlot for dinner! The first bottle was so remarkable, we had to open the second bottle and savored it slowly while admiring the complexity of the wine. The nose carried a fragrance of violets, dark cherries and cocoa. Complex with every sip, but the tannins were well balanced. It was dense, with concentrated dark berries and more dark cocoa and spice to follow, while all along leaving a silky mouth feel.

The South:


Lynnell Morgan said...

Love Forgeron wines. Thanks for the post!

Catie said...

Thanks Lynnell for dropping by!

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