Celebrating International Merlot Day

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The most planted varietal in British Columbia, Merlot has come a long way in the Okanagan Valley since things went a little sideways for this grape. The name Merlot is thought to have come from the French word merle or merlau, meaning “blackbird”, and it has a rich history around the world. So it deserves a nod each year on #MerlotDay on November 7.

While Merlot is often used in Bordeaux-style blends, we’ve lined up a few single varietals from the Bottleneck Drive to seek out and try. Our suggested food pairings? A good steak, a winter salad topped with bleu cheese dressing, a lamb burger, or a thick, hearty mushroom soup.

Dirty Laundry Vineyard Merlot 2018
With aromas of blueberry jam, hickory and a hint of rose, this full bodied wine exhibits flavors of black cherry, dark plum, and vanilla. You’ll find balanced hints of barrel spice and leather on the finish.

“I’ve always loved merlot. It’s such a beauty to work with, and always gives such luscious, dark and fruity wines that it’s not really a surprise why it’s the go-to grape for mass production. It’s this reason why it’s had an unfortunate reputation, but looking at some of the appellations where it’s the focus, like Bordeaux, Tuscany, Chile, etc., you can see that Merlot is as important to the wine world as oak. Merlot is always a forgiving ferment, and I’m glad I get to make a single varietal at Dirty Laundry!” – Bree McKeage, Assistant Winemaker

Sage Hills Organic Merlot 2018
Sourced from Kaleden Organic Vineyard
The juicy palate brings together berries, red plums, black cherries, a hint of sage and finely ground spices that build to a final flourish of violets. The tannins are fine-grained and ripe, adding to the velvety, supple texture and helping to deliver a fruity wine that honours its south Okanagan roots.

Lunessence Merlot 2018
SILVER (Merlot under $30) – All Canadian Wine Championships 2020
“Deep garnet in colour; cedary, sweet tobacco, black plum nose with a note of violets and oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, lovely mouth-feel; firmly structured with a tannic lift on the finish. Very St. Emilion in style. You can drink it now but you’d be rewarded by holding it for 18 months – two years.” – Tony Aspler (The Wine Guy, Toronto Star)

Silkscarf Merlot 2016 (SOLD OUT)
This old world Bordeaux style Merlot shows restraint with a backbone of acidity. In this medium bodied wine, the nose presents an intriguing combination of sweet blackberries, violets, molasses and some deep savory notes. The palate has good complexity of fruit, oak, earth and spice. Its tannin firmness, combined with plenty of fruit, suggests good aging capabilities.

Black Sage Merlot 2017
Silver Medal – International Wine & Spirits Competition 2020, UK
The grapes were brought in at full ripeness and fermented in stainless steel tanks for 2 weeks. The wine then went through malolactic fermentation and was aged in a blend of French and American oak barrels for 18 months.

This Merlot exhibits big jammy plum, bold blueberry, smooth vanilla and a hint of smokiness on the nose. The palate has similar flavours of rich ripe fruits and spices with pleasant smoky vanilla notes. The tannins are soft, and the finish is long with the flavours lingering long after the last sip.

Sumac Ridge Merlot 2018
Plenty of dark plums, berries and spice with a hint of sweet toasted oak on the nose. The aromas carry through to the palate making this an easy-drinking Merlot. You’ll notice a medium finish with a pleasant aftertaste that leaves you wanting more. We recommend sipping our Merlot with BBQ favourites like ribs and thick cut rib-eye steak.

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