Have you heard the news? October is #MerlotMe month. Merlot fans no longer need to whisper their orders to the bartender or hide their bottles behind a case of Pinot. October is our month to say it loud and proud “Bartender – #MerlotMe!”. To celebrate the comeback of Merlot, the Wine Pairing Weekend Group is sharing some of our favorite Merlot pairings.

L'Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Merlot

L’Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Merlot

The Merlot grape, pre-Sideways Movie, had a history and reputation for being magical. Merlot wines are superb, food friendly wines noted for their red fruits, easy tannins and soft finish. The Merlot grape is one of the essential grapes used in Bordeaux wines and is one of the world’s most planted grape varietals. If you were influenced by the movie Sideways and have not given Merlot a fair chance, it is time to try Merlot. After all one of the most famous Bordeaux wines – Chateau Petrus is mostly Merlot and averages $1,870 a bottle.

A few interesting facts about Merlot:

Merlot is the most planted variety in France, and the world.

Merlot is child of Cabernet Franc and Madgeleine Noire des Charantes.

Merlot is harder to grow than Cabernet due to thin skin that is sensitive to the environment.

Merlot is most commonly mistaken for Cabernet in blind tastings – the orange rim is a sign it is Merlot vs. Cabernet.

#MerlotMe - L'Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Merlot

#MerlotMe – L’Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Merlot

I received a bottle of L’Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley 2012 Merlot for #MerlotMe month that we paired with a recipe for “Grilled Flank Steak with Corn & Bacon Salad” from Michael Symon’s  “5 in 5 Cookbook”. The wine is a blend of 80% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot with ABV 14.5%. We found this wine to be smooth, food friendly and delightful. It has elegant notes of violet, combined with a hint of spice,  coffee/espresso, red fruits – cherry and blackberry. It is aged in 100% small oak barrels with four rackings over 18 months. This wine is handcrafted with a lot of TLC from the winemakers that is evidenced in each sip. The grapes are grown in mineral rich soils. We loved this wine and can’t wait to buy more and add to our weekly rotation. You can buy this at www.lecole.com.

See what our bloggers have cooked up!

If you are a blogger and would like to join the event, there’s still time. Just email me (jmb5121@gmail.com) with your title. The more, the merrier! Join us for a live twitter chat at 11 am EST/8 am PST on Saturday, October 10, 2015 using hashtag #winePW.

Stay tuned for more great food and wine pairings for #MerlotMe Month!