The 2014 vintage in Napa Valley yielded a bevy of bold, flavorful Merlots and Cabernets, including the mouthwatering 2014 Fore Family Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot from the Meister Vineyard. With this Merlot, put aside any preconceived notions about Merlot being a light, less than stalwart companion to Cabernet. In Fore Family’s 2014 Meister Vineyard Merlot, a deep, nearly impenetrable color underscores this Merlot’s hearty structure and extroverted personality. Ripe but firm tannins underpin layers of rich cassis fruit, hints of tobacco leaf, and cacao in the nose and flavor profile of this wine, calling to mind the finest Merlot based wines of Bordeaux’s legendary St. Émilion appellation. Destined to age well for up to a decade or more, we strongly suggest decanting the bold-flavored 2014 Fore Family Vineyards Meister Vineyard Napa Valley Merlot before serving at cool room temperature (60°-64° F). Enjoy!
A classic, Old World style of Merlot, the 2014 Fore Family Vineyards Meister Vineyard Napa Valley Merlot begs to be brought to table. Prime rib of beef or a grilled rack of lamb served with truffle and thyme infused mashed potatoes and haricots verts makes a fine accompaniment. Sautéed veal medallions topped with a port wine demi-glace and served with a ricotta cheese, wild mushroom and pancetta manicotti provides another splendid partner to the Fore Family’s full-bodied Merlot. Carefully prepared poultry and rabbit dishes smothered in rich brown gravy also provide first-rate pairings with this Merlot as do a variety of cheeses made from either cow or sheep’s milk. Two of our favorite cheeses to serve with Merlot are Gouda and Havarti, but almost any soft, rindless cheeses are likely to be equally pleasing. Enjoy!
Editor’s Note: Rarely does The International Wine of the Month Club feature more than one wine from a winery in any month or in successive months. We make exceptions only when the quality and extreme rarity of a producer’s wines pose a special opportunity for our members. We are pleased to make the exception this month with wines from Fore Family Vineyards.
Fore Family Vineyards, Lake County pioneer viticulturists and creators of limited editions of Carneros and Napa Valley wines from single vineyard sites, fashions a growing portfolio of California’s most exciting wines. Fore Family Vineyards’ wines are highly allocated and rarely available outside of the winery, unless you are a member of The International Wine of the Month Club. This month’s feature, the 2014 Fore Family Vineyards Meister Vineyard Napa Valley Merlot, exemplifies not only the individual quality and consistency we have come to expect from the Fore Family, it highlights the Fore family’s acumen in fashioning small lots of exemplary bold-flavored wines.
Since the last half of the 20th century, Merlot has lived in the shadow of its younger, more robust sibling Cabernet Sauvignon. Both Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are traditional French varietals whose origins are attributed to Bordeaux. However, after the 19th century phylloxera scourge in France, Merlot lost some of its prominence in Bordeaux and elsewhere in favor of the thicker skinned, more age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot had come to be viewed as the bridesmaid rather than the bride, and it found itself in a supporting role in many wine regions rather than as the star of the show. This phenomenon occurred in spite of the fact that many of Bordeaux’s greatest red wines have for centuries been produced primarily from Merlot. The great Château Petrus remains Bordeaux’s most expensive wine and nearly all of the finest wines of St. Émilion are based essentially upon Merlot.
However, Bordeaux is not the only wine region today where Merlot thrives. From its native France, Merlot has traveled the world. It is now cultivated on six continents and has over the last three decades become a staple in California, Australia, South Africa, South America, and Tuscany not to mention its recent proliferation in southern France and throughout Europe. Moreover, Merlot is a very prolific grape variety when left to its own devices. Consequently, nearly everywhere it is cultivated, severe pruning is the key to the quality quotient with this varietal. Merlot suffers from a susceptibility to spring frosts and a very thin skin, too, which leaves it open to rot. Nonetheless, where conditions are right and the soil is well drained, Merlot thrives. So, no more is the venerable Merlot vine the perennial bridesmaid.
Enjoy Limited Production Estate
Discover limited production estate bottled wines such as Vergenoegd's internationally
acclaimed 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, imported exclusively for our members.