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by Fred McMillin
Mad About Merlot
1941—"Merlot is a comparatively unknown variety from the Bordeaux country, which is worth trying in California. Should be good."
...American Wines, Schoonmaker and Marvel
1970—"With 100 acres planted in California's North Coast counties, Merlot may prove to be an astonishing wine.
...Guide to Wines of America, William Massee
1982—"Acreage of Merlot in California has increased to 2,161...[with some vintners] showing that the wine can have the same soft grace and charm as endear it to the winegrowers of St.-Emilion and Pomerol."
...California Wines, Robert Balzer
The meteoric rise of Merlot in California:
The Rest of the Story
A San Jose nurseryman brought the first "Merleau" vines to California in 1852. There was no indication that 130 years later its growth in the state would outpace all its red rivals. Speaking of outpacing red rivals, my panel just tasted a collection of Golden State Merlots and only this one was rated EXCELLENT.
Our Wine of the Day
Staten Family Reserve Merlot, Field Stone Winery, 1997
Postscript—The Name "Merlot"
There's no argument about the meaning of Merlot. It is "little blackbird." But why did the Bordeaux growers select that name? Jancis Robinson, British Master of Wine, tells us some say the name was selected because it's the grape of choice when blackbirds visit the vineyard. Others say the color of the ripe grapes is a perfect match with the blackbird feathers. Send us any other ideas, and we'll publicize them with full credit.
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02/16/00—Meet a Master
02/14/00—A Fine Valentine
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02/09/00—It Takes a Village
02/08/00—The Flora Aura
02/07/00—The History of Wine
02/04/00—Our Winery of the Century
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02/01/00—The Ashbrook Outlook
This page created February 2000