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 cheese without a rind is likely to be equally pleasing. Enjoy!
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.
The 2014 Fore Family Vineyards Meister Vineyard Napa Valley Merlot provides an ideal accompaniment to a wide variety of cheeses. A hearty Gouda, creamy Harvarti, or rich Cheddar pairs beautifully with Fore Family’s rich, structured Merlot. Although many soft and semi-hard cows’ milk cheeses complement this wine, Gouda and Beemster make especially fine companions to Fore Family’s 2014 Merlot. For more superb wine and cheese pairings or to learn more about gourmet cheeses, visit us at www.cheesemonthclub.com. But why settle for double the pleasure when you can have more? Dark chocolate also shares an affinity for full-flavored Merlot, so why not consider pairing the 2014 Fore Family Merlot with dark chocolate truffles, plain or with nuts, sea salt or a thick, rich filling? To enjoy the world’s finest artisan chocolates, visit us at www.chocolatemonthclub.com. Enjoy!
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