Tuesday, May 3, 2011

St. Francis Winery Starts Merlot Day, May 19

I think that by now, most wine lovers are familiar with the rise and fall of the merlot grape. After the movie Sideways, merlot took a huge hit when people started switching to pinot noir. While the much-maligned varietal might deserve a bit of the criticism it received, namely that the wine lacked structure and soul, the fact remains that merlot is capable of producing world class wines. This "Merlot Day" is a cool way to rediscover the grape, or get acquainted with one of the most popular varietals in the world. I'd recommend the St. Francis merlot as a good place to start, also try Stag's LeapWhitehall Lane, or Flora Springs. If you're looking for more value-oriented merlot, Columbia Crest makes a superb example under their "Grand Estate" classification, as do Bogle and Blackstone.

Luckily, merlot can pair well with a wide variety of foods and one of my somewhat-secret pleasures is pairing merlot with a shrimp and pesto pizza. If you're into cheese pairings, try a bottle of Napa Valley merlot with Camembert and Gruyere cheeses. Alternately if you are sometimes into simple things like I am, do a bacon grilled cheese sandwich with some sharp cheddar and smokey gouda, toss in finely diced sun-dried tomatoes, on fresh sourdough, and down a glass of merlot with that. It's a quick but very delicious meal.

What's your favorite merlot? Did you (like me) shun merlot after seeing Sideways? Have any great merlot and food pairings for us?

From the press release: 
(image via http://www.stfranciswinery.com)

St. Francis Winery Celebrates First Annual
#Merlot Day Virtual Tasting

(April 27, 2011) – St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, a Sonoma County producer of hand-crafted fruit forward varietal wines, launches their first nationwide virtual tasting featuring Merlot on Thursday, May 19, 2011.  As the first Sonoma County winery to plant and produce Merlot, their virtual tasting will salute the varietal they pioneered since their first vintage in 1983.

Wine lovers across the country can participate in St. Francis Merlot Day by signing up, free of charge, at www.stfrancismerlotday.eventbrite.com and opening a bottle of their favorite Merlot. The 24 hour tasting starts at 12:01am with participants sharing tasting notes and images of their favorite Merlot on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #Merlot.  Even better, participate by visiting the winery and attending the KJZY radio station Happy Hour from 5:30 to 8:00pm and meet Winemaker Tom Mackey.  An exciting new app from CrushWire technology will be available on iPads allowing participants to share their experiences online directly from the tasting room.

St. Francis’ winemaker Tom Mackey, heralded by the press as the ‘Master of Merlot’, is excited to participate and share his love for the presently underappreciated Merlot varietal, “Twitter and Facebook are easy ways for fans to share opinions about wine. The best way to communicate the taste and quality is old fashioned word of mouth – even when it’s delivered virtually on a smart phone.”

About St. Francis Winery & Vineyards:
For over 35 years, St. Francis Winery in Sonoma has hand-crafted fruit forward, luscious and full-bodied wines from superior mountain and valley vineyards in Sonoma County’s best appellations.   While most renowned for its red varietals, including its Zinfandel (all old vines 60 - 110 years old), Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Francis also produces a noteworthy Chardonnay.  St. Francis Sonoma County wines are bursting with flavor and are recognized globally for outstanding quality and great value. Visit us at www.stfranciswinery.com            


Beau Carufel


  1. Grilled cheese with bacon....why am I not surprised.... =P

  2. Were you expecting something else ;-)

  3. The answer to that is... Nope!

  4. Just checking..cause you know how I roll