Sterling Vintners Collection Meritage 2012

California, Central Coast
And here I thought that Meritage was a fancy way of saying the wine was a blend. It’s actually so much more. Turns out there’s an alliance even!

The list of shit I don’t know seems to grow exponentially with every year that my wine-soaked liver allows me to live.

The Meritage labeling convention was born out of the frustrations of California wine vintner’s feeling strapped by laws stipulating that wines contain at least 75% of a specific grape be labeled as that varietal. Interest grew in producing Bordeaux-style wine, which are themselves a blend. And so a bunch of wino’s in Cali got together and made up a word by smashing together two other words and an alliance was born. Now, if you want to call a blend of wine a Meritage you just fork over some cash and voila! You have a Meritage wine.

A red Meritage must be made from a blend of at least two of the following varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, or Carmenère, with no varietal comprising more than 90% of the blend.[4]

A white Meritage must be made from a blend of at least two or more of the following varieties: Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon or Muscadelle du Bordelais, with no varietal comprising more than 90% of the blend.

Red or white, the pronunciation is the same. The word Meritage need not be Frenchified. It does not rhyme with garage. It rhymes with heritage.

This particular Meritage from Sterling is bright and acidic with a metallic aftertaste. Not my favorite type of after taste. It was a bit overwhelming. But it does give it a burst full of mouth tingles. I do enjoy a good tingle in my mouth.

With my dinner of salmon and a spinach salad it came alive, until it didn’t. That metallic taste came down a few notches and it was mostly replaced by a fruit forward spiciness that still held onto that mouth tingle. In the end it was a bit flat for me. I do enjoy some of the other wines from this winery, just not this one.

I especially realized how little I enjoyed it while I wrote this blog as I drank a really yummy Rioja in the same price range. More on that one next time.

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