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Blown away by a "Meritage"?


Craig Camp
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2001 Cuneo Cellars, Cana's Feast, Red Mountain, $45

After years of being bored by California Meritage blends, it was exciting to taste the outstanding 2001 Cana's Feast, Red Mountain, produced by Oregon's Cuneo Cellars in Carlton from grapes from the Red Mountain AVA of Washington. This wine is rich while retaining its balance, elegance and liveliness and is loaded with exotic coffee and bitter chocolate flavors overlaying bright raspberry fruit. The finish is long and complex with ample tannins that are well rounded enough to enjoy now, but promising a wine that will be better in 2 or 3 years.

40% cabernet sauvignon, 29% merlot, 13% cabernet franc, 12% petite verdot

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the Cana's Feast wines always impress me, though i think they're really built for aging. but then, i think Gino Cuneo makes terrific wine.

his Two Rivers Bordeaux-style blend is a junior version of the Cana's Feast, made with grapes from both WA and OR, and has been retailing around Seattle for $14-16. a local restaurant was pouring it last Friday by the glass, and impressing everyone. (we were drinking an arneis, but only because i really wanted white wine.)

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I had glass of the 2001 "No Nonsense Red" Meritage from Norman Vineyards a few weeks ago at a restaurant. It impressed me enough to go and buy a bottle. At approx. $16, I'm looking forward to opening it and tasting it at home soon. It's 73% Cab, 17% Merlot, 10% Cab Franc.

Jerry

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My eG Food Blog- 2011

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2001 Cuneo Cellars, Cana's Feast, Red Mountain, $45

After years of being bored by California Meritage blends, it was exciting to taste the outstanding 2001 Cana's Feast, Red Mountain, produced by Oregon's Cuneo Cellars in Carlton from grapes from the Red Mountain AVA of Washington. This wine is rich while retaining its balance, elegance and liveliness and is loaded with exotic coffee and bitter chocolate flavors overlaying bright raspberry fruit. The finish is long and complex with ample tannins that are well rounded enough to enjoy now, but promising a wine that will be better in 2 or 3 years.

40% cabernet sauvignon, 29% merlot, 13% cabernet franc, 12% petite verdot

Strickly speaking this is not a "Meritage." Meritage (rhymes with “Heritage”,

so feel free to flick anyone who says

“Merit-aahhjj”) is actually a very specific term and a registered trademark,

to boot. American vintners who wanted to fashion themselves after Bordeaux

producers founded the American Meritage Association to come up with an

accepted definition for the term, and members pay $1/case fee for the right

to put the word on their bottle.

Red Meritage is made up of two or more of the red Bordeaux varieties of

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, St.

Macaire, Gros Verdot, and Carmenere. A white Meritage is made from a blend

of two or more of the following varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and

Sauvignon Vert. No single variety may make up more than 90% of the blend in

either case.

But here are a couple of "California Meritage blends" that are pretty good...

Robert Foley Claret

Joseph Phelps Insignia

BOND

Caldwell

Cardinale

Dalle Valle Maya

Dominus

Gemstone

Lail J. Daniel Cuvee

Niebaum-Coppola Rubicon

Opus One

Pahlmeyer

Peter Michael Les Pavots Knights Valley

Pine Ridge Andrus

Quintessa

Viader

"Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage."

Woody Allen

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2001 Cuneo Cellars, Cana's Feast, Red Mountain, $45

After years of being bored by California Meritage blends, it was exciting to taste the outstanding 2001 Cana's Feast, Red Mountain, produced by Oregon's Cuneo Cellars in Carlton from grapes from the Red Mountain AVA of Washington. This wine is rich while retaining its balance, elegance and liveliness and is loaded with exotic coffee and bitter chocolate flavors overlaying bright raspberry fruit. The finish is long and complex with ample tannins that are well rounded enough to enjoy now, but promising a wine that will be better in 2 or 3 years.

40% cabernet sauvignon, 29% merlot, 13% cabernet franc, 12% petite verdot

Strickly speaking this is not a "Meritage." Meritage (rhymes with “Heritage”,

so feel free to flick anyone who says

“Merit-aahhjj”) is actually a very specific term and a registered trademark,

to boot. American vintners who wanted to fashion themselves after Bordeaux

producers founded the American Meritage Association to come up with an

accepted definition for the term, and members pay $1/case fee for the right

to put the word on their bottle.

Red Meritage is made up of two or more of the red Bordeaux varieties of

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, St.

Macaire, Gros Verdot, and Carmenere. A white Meritage is made from a blend

of two or more of the following varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and

Sauvignon Vert. No single variety may make up more than 90% of the blend in

either case.

But here are a couple of "California Meritage blends" that are pretty good...

Robert Foley Claret

Joseph Phelps Insignia

BOND

Caldwell

Cardinale

Dalle Valle Maya

Dominus

Gemstone

Lail J. Daniel Cuvee

Niebaum-Coppola Rubicon

Opus One

Pahlmeyer

Peter Michael Les Pavots Knights Valley

Pine Ridge Andrus

Quintessa

Viader

What exactly disqualifies that wine as a MeritaHHHge?

And I second Craig's Opus induced :rolleyes:

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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  • 7 months later...

For those of us who are new to the term "Meritage," here is a well-written article by an amateur winemaker about the term and its history.

In three annual blind tastings of California and French meritage blends, one wine that always topped my list was Cain Five. The vintages were early nineties, however, and I haven't tasted more recent vintages. :sad: Opus One always came in quite low on my scorepad. Too funky for my taste--it always seems to have wet barrel and tobacco flavors that I feel overwhelm the fruit. Maybe they use heavy toast on their oak. (Barrels can be ordered with varying degrees of interior toasting.)

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