November Domestic Wine: 2009 REVELRY VINTNERS Merlot, Columbia Valley, WASHINGTON

Revelry Vintners is a Washington State winery rethinking the crafting and enjoyment of fine wine, founded upon the idea that truly great wine is created from quality fruit, and that it should remain both accessible and unpretentious. As a progressive producer of premium wines, highlighting the viticulture movement and dynamic quality of Washington State’s Columbia Valley, Revelry is a winery building a tradition of excellence. Revelry is the brainchild of northwest native Jared Burns. Jared, drawing on a unique and experience filled upbringing, adopted wine as a personal passion at a young age; the son of self-made entrepreneur Dennis Burns, founder of Pro-Tec Helmets, Gargoyles Sunglasses, and the inventor of the synthetic wine cork. In 1998, Burns was awarded the Golden Grape Award for his pioneering ingenuity, the product of which forever changed the course of an industry and ultimately the quality of wine. Harvesting fruit throughout the Columbia Valley’s distinct and varying microclimates and employing both traditional and modern winemaking techniques, Revelry is a homage to the heritage and excellence of Washington State’s unrivaled winemaking tradition, creating wines of uncompromised quality at unparalleled value. Revelry Vintners is located in the beautiful Walla Walla Valley, in the southeast of Washington State’s unrivaled winemaking tradition, creating wines of uncompromised quality at unparalleled value.

History of Merlot and its Relation to Revelry Vintners:  Merlot is a darkly blue-colored wine grape, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to derive from the Old French word for young blackbird, merlot, a diminutive of merle, the blackbird (Turdus merula), probably from the color of the grape. Merlot-based wines usually have medium body with hints of berry, plum, and currant. Its softness and “fleshiness”, combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot a popular grape for blending with the sterner, later-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon, which tends to be higher in tannin.

In the 1980s, Merlot helped put the Washington wine industry on the world’s wine map. Prior to this period, there was a general perception that the climate of Washington State was too cold to produce red wine varietals. Merlots from Leonetti Cellar, Andrew Will, Columbia Crest and Chateau Ste. Michelle demonstrated that areas of the Eastern Washington were warm enough for red wine production. Today it is the most widely grown red wine grape in the state and accounts for nearly one fifth of the state’s entire production. It is widely planted throughout the Columbia Valley AVA but has earned particular notice from plantings grown in Walla Walla, Red Mountain and the Horse Heaven Hills. Washington Merlots are noted for their deep color and balanced acidity. The state’s climate lends itself towards long days and hours of sunshine with cool nights that contributes to a significant diurnal temperature variation and produces wines with New World fruitiness and Old World structure.  Other US regions producing significant quantities of Merlot include New York State‘s Long Island AVA, Virginia‘s Shenandoah Valley AVA and Oregon‘s Rogue Valley AVA.

Varietal:  100% Merlot                                                          

Alcohol:  13.8% by volume

Tasting Notes:  The 2009 Revelry Merlot exhibits ripe blueberry and the fresh acidity of cherries. Aged in primarily American oak cooperage, the wine has undertones of cocoa and toffee notes. The 100% Merlot wine was harvested from Doval, Sagemoor, and Stillwater. It is an incredibly balanced wine from front to back with an exceptionally smooth quality on the palate.

Food Pairings:  Pair this great Merlot with fatty or heavy meats, pastas with rich Bolognese sauce, hearty cheese, and spicy ethnic foods.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts:  “Rich, supple and elegant. A complete wine from start to finish. The best of Washington state’s cool, sandy climate and terroir shine through. A great addition for the Thanksgiving table.”-JL 

November Imported Wine: 2009 DOMAINE ANDRÉ MÉJAN ‘Les Queyrades’ Rhone Blend, Lirac, FRANCE

Domanie André Méjan was founded by Valéry Taulier in 1920, the son-in-law André Méjan was the 2nd generation, and since 2007, the 3rd generation Florence Mélier, has been running the domaine. A total of 36 hectares belong to the domaine. The vineyards are certified agriculture biologique since 2012. This is the 3rd generation to produce Les Queyrades Lirac at Domaine Méjan-Taulier. The vineyards, now over 60 years old, are located on a rugged terroir of rolled stones. Harvested at full maturity, the grapes are completely destemmed. A long, slow vinification process is followed by at least 2 years of cellaring (in stainless steel tanks) at the domaine before release.

History of Lirac and its Relation to Domaine André Méjan:  Lirac is a wine-growing Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the department of Gard, situated in the low hills along the right bank of the Rhône river in the southern Rhône wine region of France. It is named after the town of Lirac. Bordering on the neighboring cru of Tavel AOC, a rosé-only cru in the next village, Lirac is one of the 13 crus of the Rhône valley family. On the opposite river bank is the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyard. Domaine André Méjan’s main production is Tavel (about 150,000 bottles per year). Wines from the other appellations account for about 25,000 bottles of the production.

Red wines are made from Grenache Noir (minimum 30%), Syrah and Mourvèdre (minimum of 25% together), Cinsault, and Carignan (maximum 10%). The style of red Lirac often resembles a soft Côtes du Rhône-Villages, but the more ambitious wines are often similar to Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Varietal:  30% Grenache, 25% Cinsault, 25% Syrah and 20% Mourvedre  Alcohol:  13.5% by volume

Tasting Notes:  Nice bright colour. On the nose, aromas of red fruits and moka. Well balanced on the palate, fleshy and with a lot of finesse. Toasted and grilled notes add to the complexity of this wine. A classic vintage.

Food Pairings:  This wine pairs very well with sausage, lamb, veal, and definitely turkey.  Enjoy this wine with your Thanksgiving day meal!

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts:   “Loaded with spicy and earthy tones. Hints of mushrooms and dried cherries. A frugal wine buyer’s nirvana. The wine really over achieves! A smart man’s Chateauneuf-du-Pape.”-JL