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This month’s picks from the Lodi Wine and Visitor Center

A Noble Bordeaux Grape Variety: Merlot by Michael Perry

Merlot is a grape variety used all over the world to make classic wines. In France, there are more acres of Merlot planted than Cabernet Sauvignon. For red wine grapes grown in California, Merlot is third behind only Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.    Merlot is often produced as a varietal wine and is a popular blend component with Cabernet Sauvignon. There are three main styles of Merlot—a soft, fruity, smooth wine with modest tannins; a fruity wine with more tannic structure; and, finally, a brawny, highly tannic style made in the profile of Cabernet Sauvignon.

   Merlot offers a complex mix of aromas and flavors highlighted by plum, cassis, cherry, blueberry, and blackberry fruit. It can also exhibit vegetal notes of green olive, bell pepper, and mushroom. Tea, pine, eucalyptus, and mint notes are also common as is spice, chocolate, smoke, and vanilla derived from oak aging.    Merlot can lend itself to a wide array of food matching options. Cabernetlike Merlots pair well with grilled and charred meats. Softer, fruitier Merlots go well with salmon, mushroombased dishes, and greens like chard and

radicchio. Light-bodied Merlots go well with shellfish like prawns or scallops, especially if wrapped in a protein-rich food such as bacon or prosciutto.    Lodi grows more Merlot than anyone else in California! Try these when next shopping for Lodi Merlots. Cheers! For more information: Visit the Lodi Wine and Visitor Center, and taste from a selection of over two hundred award-winning Lodi wines. 2545 W. Turner Rd., Lodi, (209) 367-4727,

SIPS AT HOME Stama Winery 2006 Merlot Medium body with moderate tannin, cherry, leather notes, and a spicy oak finish. ($13)


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Vicarmont Vineyards and Winery 2007 Merlot Medium body with hints of cherry and plum, mint, and oak. Tannic but not overpowering, with a firm cherry and oak finish. ($16)

Berghold Vineyards 2006 Merlot

Abundance Vineyards 2007 Merlot

Cherry, mint, green olive, and smoky oak flavors and aromas. Medium body with a nice mouth feel and mature tannins. ($22)

Red berry, anise, and earth flavors and aromas. Slightly tannic with a cherry and spicy oak finish. ($12)


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San Joaquin Magazine September Issue  

San Joaquin Magazine September Issue

San Joaquin Magazine September Issue  

San Joaquin Magazine September Issue