MerlotMe: Wine world celebrates red varietal this month

merlotThe French red varietal merlot, which plays a major role in Bordeaux-style blends whether in France, California or elsewhere around the world, has always been made into a straight varietal wine (100 percent merlot) too. But a certain Hollywood movie turned its reputation sideways back in 2004.

To make sure its image is upright again, hundreds of wineries, restaurants and wine merchants are devoting the month of October to featuring this wine. The #MerlotMe movement is now in its third year and growing. Last year’s #MerlotMe campaign reached more than 6.5 million wine drinkers and generated more than 50 million Web impressions in more than 40 states and 40 countries.

Here are the stats according to promoters:

Merlot is the No. 1 red wine varietal in a 2015 Sonoma State University study of more than 1,000 wine consumers.

Merlot is the most-chosen red wine in a 2015 and 2016 study by wine researchers at WineIntelligence.com.

Merlot is one of the top three important red wines in restaurants, along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.

In the “Did You Know?” category, yours truly might add that Merlot is the top red wine grown on Long Island where “Merlot is King,” and Merlot grows well in most of the Eastern U.S. wine regions plus Michigan and Ohio.

This blog will join the #MerlotMe movement this month. Here’s a taste from Napa’s St. Supéry.

stsuperyST. SUPÉRY winemaker Michael Scholz is credited with creating the distinctive style of St. Supéry’s red wines and Sauvignon Blancs. The Napa Valley winery made news last year when founder Robert Skalli announced its sale to the French luxury goods house Chanel.

St. Supéry Estate Vineyard Merlot Rutherford, Napa Valley 2012, $50: This powerful, intense, full-bodied beauty is grown at the winery’s Rutherford Estate Vineyard — some 35 acres devoted to Bordeaux varietals — that surrounds the winery on Highway 29. The structured wine is deftly woven with spicy French oak and a touch of vanilla. Earthy, robust flavors of raspberry, dark plum, mocha and espresso are approachable, but still tightly zipped. Give it time to open up in the glass. This wine was aged 19 months in French oak.

You can reach Sandra Silfven at ssilfven@hotmail.com.