I’m a merlot lover. I always have been. But man oh man can a movie turn things around. This classic varietal sure took a nose-dive in sales after the release of the movie “Sideways”, a 2004 hit set in Santa Barbara wine country. One little line uttered by Paul Giamatti, who played Miles (a wine lover celebrating his best friend’s bachelor party by touring the Santa Ynez area of California) changed everything! “If anybody orders merlot, I’m leaving,” he ranted. “I am not drinking any f***ing merlot.” Sales of merlot plummeted, but sales of pinot noir (Miles’ favorite varietal) skyrocketed!
Thankfully, things are changing. Merlot sales are steadily making a comeback, but to this day I meet people who won’t try a merlot I’m pouring. WHAT???? Yet many of these same people come back for a second pour of the Right Bank Bordeaux. Hmmmm … I guess they don’t understand what “Right Bank” means!!!! Right Bank Bordeaux wines are dominated by Merlot (and Cabernet Franc), while Cabernet Sauvignon dominates their Left Bank counterparts. This tells me that people DO love merlot, they just don’t realize it!
So … I’m on a search for some fabulous Merlots to pour for my clients. I’ve found some gems, most recently the Switchback Ridge 2012!
This is a great Napa merlot! Dark purple in color, the nose has dark cherry and blueberry. The lush palate has the cherry, some plum and smooth, silky tannins. There is a lovely touch of mocha on the finish. This wine is simply irresistible and I can’t get enough of it! Bob Foley (of Robert Foley Vineyards) is the winemaker. HELLO!!!! Great winemaking. Great fruit. Great wine!!!
Okay, so I love the novel Sideways AND the movie!!! Please do me (and yourself) a favor, though. Don’t believe the crap about merlot! Don’t be afraid. Drink merlot! And why not start with Switchback Ridge?
You can check them out here: https://switchbackridge.com/