Meritage and Funky Blends

The backbone of the California wine industry


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Meritage and Funky Blends While much of California’s fame is due to varietal wine, or at least wines that are labeled with a single varietal, there has always been a strong tradition of creating blended wines from the variety of vineyards and grapes that thrive in California.

From the original field blends planted by immigrating Italians to the creation of the Meritage label in 1988, blended wines have been the backbone of the California wine industry.

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  • Snooth User: mbew
    169856 6

    Tom Glaze at Balboa makes some great wines at really affordable prices. Try his Cat's Meow, sangiovese, or Merlot

    Jan 04, 2011 at 1:57 PM

  • Snooth User: wkdavis1
    504888 3

    small typo...
    Abbot's Table... not Tale...

    Jan 04, 2011 at 2:49 PM

  • Wagner Wines of the Finger Lakes in NY has one of the nicest blends of a Meritage. It is mellow and soft. A sipper.

    Jan 04, 2011 at 2:51 PM

  • Snooth User: davesacco
    98582 21

    Surprised that none of the classic meritage blends from Cain Five, Dry Creek, Opus One, Justin, Chimeney Rock, and St. Francsis made your list.

    Jan 04, 2011 at 2:53 PM

  • Snooth User: ambersea
    433198 40

    I'm particularly fond of Vigilance Cimarron, wonderful blending of Zinfandel, Syrah, Petit Syrah and Cabernet. It's 14.2% alcohol. Vigilance Winery and Vineyards are in Geyserville, CA. I found this gem at BevMo and they keep selling out.

    Jan 04, 2011 at 3:34 PM

  • Snooth User: Diderot
    104965 104

    Some great information here. I had always thought Meritage was a domestic effort to create a Bordeaux-style red. Hence Cinq Cepages, one of the great Meritage blends, Estancia, and the very nice EOS French Connection.

    Call me cranky but I would rather classify separately the reds that also rely on non-Bordeaux varietals, like Syrah or Sangiovese. There's nothing wrong of course with blending these all together but once you get started, where do we look for uniquely Bordeaux-like blends?

    I am also pleased (while I am about this curmudgeonly rant) when Malbec is consigned to its just and proper place as a blending grape. What next - a center stage role for my overlooked favorite, Petit Verdot?

    Jan 04, 2011 at 3:48 PM

  • Snooth User: shermank
    614080 9

    The Jana Napa Valley Cathedral is technically a Cab as it has 92% cab, exceeding the AVA requirement for a wine to use a single varietal name on the bottle. Is this just a marketing effort to push the wine as a blend?

    Jan 04, 2011 at 4:57 PM

  • Snooth User: TommyJay
    335731 34

    How about the Hahn Meritage? A nice blend of Cabernet (44%), Malbec (22%), Petit Verdot (22%), Cabernet Franc (10%), and Merlot (4%). This is a very nice, dark, fruit forward Meritage at a good price point.

    Jan 04, 2011 at 4:58 PM

  • Snooth User: Catherine Gin
    Hand of Snooth
    592568 297

    wkdavis1, thanks for spotting that. Abbot's Tale sounded a bit Chaucer-ish! All fixed now.

    Jan 05, 2011 at 11:40 AM

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    Jan 07, 2011 at 12:46 AM

  • Snooth User: JeninCo
    726414 1

    Colorado has some great Meritage Blends, and Grande River Vineyards in Palisade has a straight Petit Verdot for Diderot.

    Jan 11, 2011 at 4:05 PM

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