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You Had Me at Merlot

Welcome to (almost) spring everyone! The energy on the streets and in the air is indisputable. People are ready for living life again and we are almost there. A lot of surprising trends have emerged in full force, despite the absence of 2020, and I am not speaking of combat boots, at least not today, but rather, the comeback of Merlot.

This new fervor for Merlot signifies we are nearing the end of ‘The Sideways Effect,’ Which stemmed from the 2004 movie, “Sideways,” generally credited with single-handedly plummeting Merlot sales tragically due to a memorable line from the movie when Miles, the main character, proclaims his disdain for the wine, stating, “If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any f****** Merlot!”

I always chuckle to myself when I hear someone say they loathe Merlot, I usually chime in innocently and ask why. More often than not, they don’t know why and probably have not tasted one in recent memory. I know deep down they have probably seen that movie and have boarded that bandwagon. I love to pick on them a bit by educating them on the fact the most expensive wine in the world, Petrus, is 100% merlot, and also that Merlot is usually added to Cabernet Sauvignon to make it smoother, more delicate.

Merlot is prized and celebrated in Bordeaux. It comprises the wines from the famous villages on Bordeaux’ right bank. In the United States, it shines bright from Washington state’s Walla Walla Valley, California’s Napa Valley, and my personal favorite domestic wine-growing region, Paso Robles. Paso Robles is the hipper, newer, less pretentious, wine destination in California. It sits on California’s Central Coast, in-between San Francisco and Santa Barbara, not far from Big Sur.

Right now I am loving a very economically approachable, yet lauded Merlot, by the winery Broadside. Broadside Merlot hails from Margarita Vineyard in Paso Robles and has consistently garnered 90+ points over the past several years. The 2018 vintage currently in the market today, has received 93 points from Wine Enthusiast.

Expect fragrances of dark red and blackberries, violet, cassis, and a touch of sweet basil. Followed by flavors of lush black raspberries, blueberry jam, black pepper, and hints of black licorice. Velvety in texture, with smooth to almost absent tannins.

This Merlot pairs fantastic with hard, very sharp cheddar cheese, lamb, grilled meats with a bit of char, pizza, BBQ and rich, dark chocolate cake. For the snacker, Cool Ranch Doritos, butter-flavored popcorn, and my go-to with juicy, jammy red wine, Wiley Wallaby Black Licorice.

You can find the 2018 Broadside Merlot, Margarita Vineyard, at a handful of shops around the metro, including Atomic Liquor in Eagan, Jerry’s Wine and Spirits in Woodbury, Perrier Wine & Spirits on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, and POUR Wine Bar and Bistro in Otsego pours it at the bar, by-the-glass—-a great stop, by the way, on your way up North.

Until next time, this is Amber, from the Simple Lux Life, and I just want to say, enjoy the newness of everything going on around us. And as the saying goes, don’t believe everything you hear in the movies.

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