Want to look like you know a thing or two? Next time you want to try a new world Bordeaux style wine, ask for a Meritage. But make sure you pronounce Meritage correctly when you’re at the store.
What is Meritage?
In North America, a Bordeaux style wine is called Meritage. Despite containing the same grapes as those you’d find in a Bordeaux, it can’t be called such — that would be an infringement on the French region, the designation of origin. I admit, I wouldn’t want anyone using my name either after hundreds of years building a prestigious reputation.
Like Bordeaux, you can find any combination of Bordeaux grape varietals in a Meritage, which are Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenere, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot. I’ve yet to come across a white Meritage and apparently they’re rare, but the grapes are Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon or Muscadelle du Bordelais.
I really enjoy a good Bordeaux and Meritage. We were talking about how much we love the two over dinner the other day with the bf’s family. Then somebody pronounced Meritage wrong…
How do you think you’re supposed to say it?
Most people assume that because of the French association, it’s said with a French accent, mari-taj. Not so. Meritage was coined in the United States back in the late 1980s and is a combination of the words merit and heritage. When you combine the two, meritage rhymes with heritage. That’s how you pronounce it.
Next time you hear someone say mari-taj, you know they may not know as much as they led on (especially if they work at the store or are wine snobs). That’s OK. But if you want to set any wine snob straight, you can always direct them to this blog post!
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