Whether this summer ever gets into the swing of things or not the ambitious plans of the drinks industry, to seduce us to try their wares, must plough ahead regardless. From pairing fine wines with fast food to cocktail fruit fusions made by wine producers and abandoning the ancient art of ummm…. drinking through your mouth…. by absorbing your drink in a mist of breathable booze: this season has been all about breaking with tradition.
The main trend emerging from the Médoc region of Bordeaux is not quite so remarkable but for an area that dines out on centuries of winemaking history it’s Merlot of all things that is paving the way for a new future.
The Merlot-isation of the Médoc….
Climate dictates that most Médoc reds are a blend predominantly of Cabernet Sauvignon which has historically made a chief character of reds from the left bank more robust in style and best left to mature for a few years before opening. Given the world of immediacy that we live in, and possibly a bit to do with my general thirst, a bottle of wine in my house is lucky if it gets to live for more than 24 hours! So it was good news to hear the word Merlot on nearly every winemaker’s lips that I met in June. The Merlot-isation of the Médoc is in full swing which means more red wines from this world class region being ready to drink sooner; reds that are riper, fruiter and more appealing to more wine drinkers and if the wines are being released sooner it means less costs to the winery in storage and therefore better prices for you and me.
Move over Sideways, Merlot is back!