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Kris Heart Merlot 2008
The wine pairs well with roasted meats, rich pastas, sausages and cheeses.
KRIS wine is handcrafted in Alto Adige using grapes sourced from Italy’s most esteemed growing regions. The winery is located in the hillside town of Montagna, where culture is a unique reflection of Germanic heritage and Italian nationality. An ideal combination of traditional winemaking artistry and modern technology is used to blend each of the KRIS wines. The timeless and inspiring KRIS labels emphasize the role of the sun in ripening the grapes to perfection, the human hand in crafting the wine, and the lips that savor the wine. Riccardo Schweizer, a native of Alto Adige, studied cubism in Paris under Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró. The original paintings were given by Schweizer to his friend, the KRIS winery’s founder for his birthday. KRIS Pinot Grigio IGT Delle Venezie takes full advantage of the “delle Venezie” designation by marrying the best fruit from the appellation’s three permitted regions. Veneto fruit provides the delicate floral notes and the classic almond finish. Grapes sourced from the southwest facing slopes of Montagna receive ample sun and contribute ripe, yet fresh, citrus and pear fruit. Soil from the Mulinat vineyards is gravely and well drained, which helps to limit yields and intensify flavor. KRIS Pinot Noir is carefully selected from hillside vineyards nestled among the Apennine foothills of the Otrepò Pavese region of Lombardy. These highly reputed vineyards offer many different microclimates of varying exposures and elevations which contribute to the distinctive component in the final blend. The KRIS winemakers focus on quality, low yield production methods and unique mastery of classic Alto-Adige grapes, which have gained them much acclaim.
A large, geographically and climatically diverse island, just off the toe of Italy, Sicily has long been recognized for its fortified Marsala wines. But it is also a wonderful source of diverse, high quality red and white wines. Steadily increasing in popularity over the past few decades, Italy’s fourth largest wine-producing region is finally receiving the accolades it deserves and shining in today's global market.
Though most think of the climate here as simply hot and dry, variations on the sun-drenched island range from cool Mediterranean along the coastlines to more extreme in its inland zones. Of particular note are the various microclimates of Europe's largest volcano, Mount Etna, where vineyards grow on drastically steep hillsides and varying aspects to the Ionian Sea. The more noteworthy red and white wines that come from the volcanic soils of Mount Etna include Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio (reds) and Carricante (whites). All share a racy streak of minerality and, at their best, bear resemblance to their respective red and white Burgundies.
Nero d’Avola is the most widely planted red variety, and is great either as single varietal bottling or in blends with other indigenous varieites or even with international ones. For example, Nero d'Avola is blended with the lighter and floral, Frappato grape, to create the elegant, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, one of the more traditional and respected wines of the island.
Grillo and Inzolia, the grapes of Marsala, are also used to produce aromatic, crisp dry whites. Pantelleria, a subtropical island belonging to the province of Sicily, specializes in Moscato di Pantelleria, made from the variety locally known as Zibibbo.
An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. But the grape also has enough stuffing to make serious, world-renowned wines. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, in St. Emilion and Pomerol, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.
In the Glass
Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.
Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.
Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot with Cabernet Franc.