Are You Still Down on “Merlot”? STOP!!!


Still Down On Merlot From The Film Sideways??

After this film and still in effect today, Merlot Sales Plummeted and Pinot Noir Sales went up. In the end of the film however, the main character Miles who was hating on Merlot was in a greasy spoon drinking his prized possession bottle of wine :1961 Chateau Cheval Blanc from the Right Bank Of Bordaux, France and this wine is worth about $15,000 and is 80% Merlot !! The director squeezed that scene in as a private joke but the Merlot Sales going down is a shame and no joke. It still is one of the finest, complex grape varieties in the world and delicious. No one does it better in my opinion ( I am Captain Washington after all ) than Washington State in the hands of a talented winemaker. 

Meet Annette Bergevin Of Bergevin Lane

Annette Bergevin

A fifth-generation Walla Walla native, co-founding Bergevin Lane Vineyards with her long time friend Amber Lane in 2002 was the fulfillment of a long-time dream, one that started with her father. “In my younger days he would share amazing wines from his collection,” she says. “That’s when I discovered how wonderful the wine world could be.”

“The secret to our success is really pretty simple,” Annette says. “We are making wines we love, and are proud to share.”  Annette is the General Manager, overseeing the winery and it’s day-to-day operations. 

I love Annette and her passion and for a winery that mostly produces wines in the small 500-800 case production they really provide that quality to price ratio. They have some great partnerships and vineyards they source grapes from in Yakima Valley, Walla Walla and Columbia Valley appellations. What good is great grapes without a great winemaker??

Meet The Winemaker Dave Harvey

Dave Harvey

Dave Harvey joined Bergevin Lane with over 24 years of winemaking experience in Washington State working for notable wineries such as Townshend Cellars, Gordon Brothers and Terra Blanca.

“We asked Dave to join our team because of his seasoned experience with Washington vineyards, he makes great wines and he passed our blind wine tasting test with flying colors-plus he’s a super nice guy,” says Amber Lane.

2012 Bergevin Lane “Wild Child” Merlot

As I have mentioned in previous posts, American Wine Law only requires that 75% of the grape variety listed on the bottle has to be in the Bottle. They do not have to list the other 25%. In the 2011 Wild Child which sources the fruit from the Wahluke Slope and the single vineyard known as the Stone Tree Vinyeard was mostly Merlot with some blending grapes. This 2012 attracted me not only because of the Vintage being great but they decided to go 100% Merlot which is rare these days. Hand Harvested grapes, carefully sorted and De-stemmed with minimal crushing, and gravity fed into 4 and 1 ton fermenters. Their standard fermentation lasts  30 days, after which the free run wine is separated from the press . Ageing occurs in 228 liter French and American barrels for 18 months mostly new. 

The Wine Review

Wild Child Front Label

Wild Child Rear Label

 

Wild Child Glass

The color was textbook Merlot as you can see in the glass. It would be more purple if they added Petit Verdot which this vintage did not. I can see where the name “Wild Child” comes from. It is aromas and flavors gone “WILD” This is Merlot on Steroids. Wild and intense aromas of Cassis and Blackberry Jam and Ripe Plums with hints of cedar wood or inside a humidor. On my palate, “WILD” intense silky flavors on a medium to full body frame of Blackberries gone “Wild” mingling with Black Cherry and Black Plum and weaving throughout the entire tasting is the flavors of espresso and vanilla bean extract, just a hint of tobacco on a 3 minute and 30 Second long long long spicy black peppery finish.(YES I TIMED IT)  99% Of Napa Valley Wine Fans would never guess Merlot (Thanks Again Sideways…NOT!!) they would think this was a Cabernet. That’s good news for me as this 2012 Wild Child will bring them back to the Merlot grape and it’s ability to produce fully rich flavored wines. 

Food Pairing 

Wild Child Food Pairing

Nothing fancy I am a hard working single divorced man, so simple is the key. I had some Organic Turkey Sausages with Asiago and Roasted Red Pepper that I grilled up quickly on a bed of Quinoa and Brown Rice with Steamed Broccoli Spears and Dabs of Dijon Spicy Mustard… Every Bite worked with this Merlot . They complimented each other. I also had a very matured aged Cheddar from Scotland that normally I wouldn’t attempt to pair a Merlot with as the Strong Cheese would kill the wine but with this INTENSE and “WILD” flavored Merlot it was one of the best cheese and wine pairings I have experimented with all year. Perfection!!!

We All Hate Points But What The Heck!

Wild Child WS Review

I love Harvey Steinman who awarded this Wine 89 Points in Wine Spectator a year ago and I wrote Annette a message the day after drinking that Harvey needs to re taste this wine NOW… He way underscored the wine and I myself am scoring this 93 Points on the infamous 100 point scale whatever that means. 

The Summary

I am going to put it in simple layperson’s term because as a Sommelier who likes to provide quality to price ratio to my guests and blog followers. Would you prefer to chase all over the internet and get gouged trying to find the 2014 Duckhorn “Three Palms Vineyard” Merlot selected by the above mentioned Wine Spectator magazine as the 2017 Number one Wine Of The Year and pay from $90 to $200 per bottle if you can find that vintage Or…… Stop by and see us at ABC Fine Wine and Spirits in the State of Florida and purchase a 100% Merlot also from a Single Vineyard from Washington State that is on sale for $21.99? The Quality To Price Differences between Napa and Washington is just “WILD”. Although I like well behaved children this is one “WILD CHILD” I don’t want to Tame…

Grapefully yours, Larry

 

 

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