MEET MERLOT

MEET MERLOT

Meet Merlot! Often a stepping stone into the red wine world, Merlot is a fantastic grape to enjoy anytime and pairs easily with foods. After Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot is the second most popular red grape in America . Merlot is a dark blue-colored wine grape variety, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to be a diminutive of merle, the French name for the blackbird, probably a reference to the color of the grape. Its softness, “fleshiness”, and elegance makes Merlot an easy drinking red whether combined with food or sipping solo. Merlot is also a great choice for someone new to red wines. Merlot grapes first arrived in California in the mid-nineteenth century, and American winemakers began making wines using 100% Merlot! The grape grew easily here and Americans really loved the softness of the fruit on its own, and its expected that they enjoyed its low tannin levels as well. Merlot Pairing Do’s and Dont’s: Merlot wine matches with a wide variety of foods because of its position in the middle of the red wine spectrum. In general Merlot pairs well with chicken and other light meats as well as lightly-spiced dark meats. With medium tannin and not too much acidity you’ll find Merlot pairs well with many foods. Merlot doesn’t pair well with fish or leafy green vegetables unless they are braised or cooked a certain way. Also, spicy food will most likely overwhelm Merlot’s nuanced flavors. Climate Merlot: Merlot is a varietal that contains at least 13.5% alcohol, but can approach 14.5%, especially when it...
FRENCH WINE GUIDE

FRENCH WINE GUIDE

Quick guide to French Wines & Wine Regions One reason why many American wine drinkers shun or avoid French wines is that the labels can be confusing and hard to understand. Most of us know basically that a Chardonnay is different from a Sauvignon Blanc and have a sense of what those differences are and more importantly when we’re wine shopping, we know what those differences mean for the flavor of the wine and which one we prefer. But what’s the how about Sancerre VS Chablis or Bordeaux VS Cotes du Rhone? Here’s a quick primer to the five of the main French wine regions and the types of wines you’ll find there. Champagne First off, if it doesn’t come from the Champagne region of France, it’s just “Sparkling Wine.” Only sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France can be called Champagne. Even within France, if it doesn’t come from the Champagne region it’s called Cremant de XXXX (the name of the region that it’s made in). Champagne is usually made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes and is always sparkling. So all sparkling wines aren’t Champagne, but all Champagnes are sparkling wines. Bordeaux (reds) If you like bolder style wines with backbone and solid tannic structure like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, then Bordeaux is the region for you. In general European wines are less fruit forward than New World wines as they are always meant to be consumed along with food and not served as cocktail beverages. For Bordeaux this means they’ll have a drier, earthier taste than most California Cabs at...
ROSÉ WINES

ROSÉ WINES

LEARN ABOUT ROSÉ WINES WINE EDUCATION: Rosé Wines April celebrates Rosé Wines at Taylor’s Wine Shop, and if you cannot make it to our tasting this month, you can learn all Rosé wines right here! Rosé has become incredibly popular and exploded in the US market over the past couple years, but most of us don’t know how rosé is made or where some of the most consistent rosés comes from. “Pink wine happily spans the colorspace between red and white wine, in a way, rosé is more like a state of mind.” – Wine Folly All about the Rosé Wines  Rosé has become very popular in the US over the past few years, especially during the warmer spring and months of the year. In France, it now eclipses the sale of white wine! It also happens to be the perfect wine for sipping poolside, at a backyard barbecue or a Parking Lot Party! Suffice it to say, rosé has become incredibly popular, but most of us don’t know how rosé is made or where some of the most consistent rosés comes from. So if white grapes make white wine and red grapes become red wine, are there pink grapes for rosé? How do winemakers create wine with a pretty pink color? It’s all about skin contact! When grapes, no matter their color, are juiced, the juice that runs out of the fruit is clear. Wines receive their color not from the juice but from the juice’s contact with the skin of the grapes. As the skins and the juice soak together the color from the skin bleeds into the juice, giving...
BOTRYTIS WINES

BOTRYTIS WINES

WINE EDUCATION: BOTRYTIS WINES Many of the world’s best dessert wines (and few of the ones we tried the other night) are made by botrytis effected grapes.  We talked a little bit about it at the tasting, but if you were unfortunate enough to not have been at our past dessert wine tastings or didn’t get the full story, here’s the skinny on how these amazing wines are made. All about the ‘Noble Rot’ – Botrytis  Botrytis cineria is fungus that can grow on many types of fruit and produce given the right conditions.  For most farmers and growers, these conditions are dreaded unless you are trying to make a dessert wine.  Moist, damp and conditions can cause the mold to form on grape clusters.  When conditions remain wet cool for too long, the fungus will progress to the point where it ruins the grapes and is known as grey rot.  When warmer and drier weather follow the damp conditions that cause the the onset of the fungus, it is kept in check and develops into what dessert wine producers pray for – “Noble Rot.” Grapes that have been attacked by the Noble Rot fungus are responsible for many of the world’s most famous dessert wines – Sauternes, Tokaji, Trokenbeerenausle, Australian Stickies… So how do rotten grapes ending up making wines so delicious and sweet?  The fungus does two things to the grapes. 1) When spores of the botrytis fungus land on grape berries germinate, they grow filaments, whose tips exude an enzyme that dissolves tiny holes in the berry’s skin and allows the filaments to work their way...