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What's wrong with merlot? School me on red wines.

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by e rock, Jun 29, 2005.

  1. e rock

    e rock

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    I will be the first to admit that I know precisely shiat about wines. I know that I like some more than others and I could probably explain the technical critiques, but I just don't have a discerning tongue.

    A couple weeks ago, a few aquaintances were discussing cabs, syrahs, etc. I mentioned that I had just opened a nice bottle of merlot (can't remember the winery...). Then the response: "You don't know what you're talking about."

    Fair enough. And true. But I was at a bit of a loss for words, so I didn't get into details.

    Then the other day I watched the movie 'Sideways'. Again, merlot gets the verbal slight with no explanation, which reminded me of my previous encounter.

    So what's wrong with merlot? Anyone care to share a concise comparison of various reds so maybe I'll know what I'm supposed to be tasting?


    Eric (shiraz in hand)
     
  2. hoser

    hoser SILVER Star

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  3. e rock

    e rock

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    Ok I feel a little better, even if it's through no redeeming quality of my own... :D
     
  4. Poriomania

    Poriomania

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    Nothing's wrong with Merlot, but your friends are jerks. I think so many people are against it because it used to be very popular. People who didn't know anything about wine could order it because it was the in thing and could wax on about how good it was and everyone at the table would agree and complement the choice. Same thing with Chardonnay and "oak." Now Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are popular whites and Pinot Noir and Syrah are popular reds and people who are drinking last year's fashions are ignorant slobs.

    A good starting book is Wines for Dummies, if you want to get really in depth pick up Larousse's Enclyclopedia of Wine or the one by the CIA.


    Edit: I could've saved myself the typing had I checked the link.
     
  5. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    I like Merlot. Probably my favorite!

    scr#w all the wannabe snobs!
     
  6. FirstToy

    FirstToy

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    I agree w/ Poriomania.
    I aquired a great appreciation for wine travelling w/ my g/f thru the central coast and norcal. There were some great wineries and great people that let you experience wine in a very casual way. They live it, so it's not some rarified, snobby thing; it's just wine. Enjoy it and learn as much or little about it as you want. Kinda like 4-wheeling, hehe.
     
  7. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew On the way there SILVER Star

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    Good post FirstToy. Wine is life as some say, but really no big deal. The three great red grapes of Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvingnon,, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. In France all of the best wines of Bordeaux are blends of these 3 grapes. One of the regions in Bordeaux makes most of their wines with almost all Merlot-and get a premium price for premium wine.

    In California, most growers make single variatals-like the Merlot the original poster was mentioning. Merlot is said to mature a bit faster in the bottle than Cabernet and the tannins are slightly softer to me. It can be delicious, or terrible. If you want terrible, spend $1.99 on a bottle of Charles Shaw. That will show your friends what bad wine is all about. I will happily drink a good Merlot till it's gone!

    I like Zinfindels too-that will drive your wine snob friends crazy-but some are amazing-like the ones from Ridge Winery. Try some and you'll be a believer.

    For once, I agree with e9999. Merlot grapes make excellent wines. They are often a few $ per bottle cheaper than Cabs of equivalent quality. Access to numerous great wineries is one of the great perks of Norcal.

    As for Syrah or Shiraz in Aussie speak, it is trendy now and the color is really great. The cheap ones taste like cough syrup, the good ones can be very good wine for the $.

    Bottom line-drink what YOU like. Don't be swayed by wine snob friends, just drink their wine.
     
  8. gulp3000

    gulp3000

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    Your first problem was opening a bottle of Merlot. Boxes have better dispensers, hold more, and fit nicely in the fridge. Maybe that's why your friends were put off. ;)
     
  9. Gold Finger

    Gold Finger

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    I find that for me Merlot is a little soft, though my wife enjoys wines made from that grape, while the Cabernet Sauvignon grape makes a wine that is stringer tasting with more tannin like good strong tea and that is what I frefare. Over in the UK I find that wines from Chile offer the best value for money and I can usually guarantee that a Cabernet Sauvignon from here will taste right for me.
     
  10. calamaridog

    calamaridog

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    Great post Cruiserdrew:cheers:

    I agree with him, drink what you like. I used to drink Merlot often since you can find a good Merlot for much less money. My favorite Red Wine varieties are now Pinot Noir, Zinfindel, and Merlot. Some of the best reds I've ever had were blends though.

    Wine Spectator magazine publishes one magazine each year which I always like to read which has all the good value wines for the year listed.

    My wine consumption is way down, but I enjoyed the low prices on quality California wines during 96-01 or so. The prices have started going up the last few years though.
     
  11. FirstToy

    FirstToy

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    Hey intersting stuff Andy
    Good ol' Chucks buck wine-hehe... yeah pretty bad.

    Have you by chance been to Hop Kiln Winery and the surrounding wineries? I forget the town but that was a great place. They had a nice town square w/ a bunch of wine tasting shops.
    My g/f found some antique door knobs for $5 (sell for $300-400 in Los Angeles)!! But we had an amazing time in the norcal wineries

    I like zin's too!

     
  12. calamaridog

    calamaridog

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    Is this the beginning of the first annual central coast wine tasting and wheeling tour? Or should we wheel before drinking;)
     
  13. OZCAL

    OZCAL

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    Maybe you were saying it wrong - the "t" at the end of Merlot is silent :flipoff2:

    Seriously, I'm noticing more and more cabernet/merlot blends, the reason being (as hit upon above) the merlot matures faster while mellower (less tannins?), resulting in a more approachable young wine, resulting in more wine being drunk faster, resulting in faster/more $$ for the winemaker, but so what if it tastes good!).

    By the way I've bought cases of two buck Chuck over the years, "for cooking" of course, but often find myself pouring a glass or two in the chicken, a glass or two in me, you know how it goes...
     
  14. trainrech

    trainrech

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    It is just like beer - you drink what you like. If they don't like what you are drinking, more for you.
     
  15. LongIsland60

    LongIsland60

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    Merlot used to be the trendy wine, now the sheep have moved to something else. Don't follow the sheep - drink what you like.

    If you really like wine, spend some time traveling around in the wine regions of France. You can't help but pick up knowledge, then you can be snobbier than your friends.
     
  16. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew On the way there SILVER Star

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    I do. My dad loves good wine too, and his theory is that after the first glass, they all taste OK. I would say there is some truth to that. :cheers:
     
  17. PHBeerman

    PHBeerman

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    Back when I was a wine salesman, one of the best wine makers I ever met gave me some great advice.

    We were sitting down for a meal at the winery, and as the chef was serving dinner he asked "Which varietal will compliment this meal?" After we spewed a few answers, and started an indepth conversation as to why our choice was correct, he interupted and said "**** that, it's whatever wine you like"



    That dude is a genius.
     
  18. Brentbba

    Brentbba Former Golfer SILVER Star

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    Count me in! That would be a blast, but driving b4 drinking! :cheers:

    My 2 cents on this thread. I own a small wine cellar - 250 bottles. My personal opinion - drink what you enjoy and are willing to pay and to hell with reviews and snobs. It's a personal choice.

    Personally I do prefer big, bold, dry Cabernet's. There are lots of excellent blend wines, Merlot's, Cabernet Franc's, etc. etc. etc. I'm not much of a white wine drinker, but do enjoy a good Chardonay on occasion. I've had plently of lousy ones as well. My 'personal' taste doesn't run toward Merlot's, but that doesn't mean that I haven't enjoyed plenty of very good ones either. One of the best bottles I ever enjoyed was at the Domain Chandon restaurant in Napa several years ago and it was a Merlot from Sonoma County (Matanzaz Creek).

    Drink and enjoy what you find interesting to you and don't listen to anyone or anything but your tongue! :cheers:
     
  19. stayalert

    stayalert SILVER Star

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    The only problem I have with Merlot is that its not beer.
    :beer:
     
  20. Urrrk

    Urrrk

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    The way to enjoy merlot is to pronounce it "merrr-LET". I find it helps to have a mullet and a sleeveless t-shirt, as well. Once properly attired, lesser afficiandos will find less cause to judge your selections, and may even ignore you and let you enjoy your wine in peace.

    You should hear the way I pronounce Cabernet.

    -Erik