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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Meridian Merlot 2002

Merlot from Central Coast, California
    0% ABV
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    Winemaker Notes

    This Merlot is ripe with berry and cherry fruit, and just a trace of fresh mint. It has a soft, supple texture and a round, mouth-filling body.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Meridian

    Meridian

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    Meridian, Central Coast, California
    Established in 1988, the Meridian Vineyards winery is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco in the relaxed town of Paso Robles, California. The label was founded in 1984 by veteran Winemaker Chuck Ortman, who spent the early part of his career as winemaker and consultant to several prestigious Napa and Sonoma wineries. Although the first Meridian wines were made from Napa fruit, Ortman was always intrigued by the emerging Central Coast growing regions of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, where vineyards in cool climates were yielding Chardonnay and Pinot Noir of phenomenal quality. When the opportunity was presented to develop Meridian's Santa Barbara vineyards and relocate to the Central Coast, Ortman eagerly accepted the challenge. Today, Chuck is still making the wines from vineyards owned and farmed by Meridian Vineyards in the Santa Barbara County, Edna Valley and Paso Robles appellations.

    Central Coast

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    The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of the state's wine. The sprawling district covers most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara from the coast inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley. Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types, and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including Monterey, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, and Santa Cruz Mountains.

    Just about every major international grape variety is planted within this vast AVA, from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. A significant proportion of the region’s produce is generic, inexpensive bulk wine, but the Central Coast is also home to many small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as everything in between.

    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. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, 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.

    Perfect Pairings

    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.

    Sommelier Secret

    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 and Cabernet Franc.

    SWS66779_2002 Item# 81649