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Merlot week

So we talked about the wine classes we are taking to learn to distinguish wines based upon their characteristics. We were looking forward to Merlot week as we are red wine drinkers! Merlot week did not disappoint! It was amazing to learn how much Merlot suffered from one line in a movie from 2004 called Sideways. Paul Giamatti (a great actor by the way) and a friend take a week long road trip to Santa Barbara County wine country. Giamatti’s character loves Pinot Noir and states in a line in the movie”If anybody orders (expletive) Merlot, I’m leaving!”

Release poster from movie Sideways

Following the release of the film, Merlot sales dropped 2% and Pinot Noir sales increased 16%! A 2009 study by Sonoma State University found that Sideways slowed the growth of Merlot sales and caused its price to fall. Amazing that one line in a movie can have such an effect.

But enough of Hollywood and on to the wine. The official tasting was of a Merlot from Napa Valley, Trefethen. It is an estate grown Merlot with good reviews. It has a average price of $34.99 according to Vivino. It was an ok Merlot, but not my favorite. It was rather bland and lacked fruitiness and depth.

Crefethen and Crestwood Barrel

We always do a comparison wine, so I picked up a Washington State Merlot from Aldi. It was Crestwood Barrel Merlot. Retail price is $6.99. This Merlot was much better than the $35 Trefethen. It was fruity and had much more depth and character. Proof positive that price doesn’t always mean a superior wine! Washington state produces some under appreciated wines.

We are looking forward to next week as we learn about one of our absolute favorite varietals, Cabernet Franc. Stay tuned!


Published by Carolinawinetraveler

Travelling the Carolinas visiting vineyards and wineries.

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