jamie goode's wine blog: A merr-low I quite like

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A merr-low I quite like

I'm sticking with Merr-low for the time being. As an open-minded sort of guy - despite being quite opinionated at the same time - I like to give grape varieties, wine regions and producers a second chance, and even a third chance. In fact, part of the fun of wine is that the wine world is in a continual state of flux, not least because of the annual roll-over of vintages.

A challenge. Next time you go to a restaurant, I dare you to pronounce 'Merlot' with a hard 't' in your interchange with the sommelier. Gwan, gwan, gwan. You get 10 anorak points for this. You get a further 10 anorak points if the sommelier corrects you. You get a further 10 points if the sommelier corrects you in a condescending or patronising manner. You get a further 10 points if they do it with a little chuckle, as if to say, how stupid of you. I hate it when people are patronized by sommeliers. It's an attitude that takes wine from the people and puts it into the hands of experts.

Anyway, I digress. I found a Merlot I liked. The wine in question is actually from Patagonia in Argentina. My note follows:

Canale Reserve Merlot 2005 Patagonia, Argentina
The garish orange label isnít a good indicator of whatís in the bottle. This stylish red wine, from Patagonia in southern Argentina, is really quite restrained and balanced Ė itís not at all brash. The nose is quite fresh, with bright dark fruits joined by a bit of gravelly minerality and some vanilla and spice oak notes. The palate is quite Bordeaux-like: thereís a freshness and savouriness to the dark fruits thatís not usually found in the new world, with tar, spice and earth notes joining the well defined dark fruits. This rather sophisticated, well mannered Merlot is a wine thatís best with food, and which will age well over the medium term. 90/100 (Marks & Spencer £9.99)

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At 10:40 PM, Anonymous Doug said...

I'm sure I've misremembered this, but here's a moment from an episode of Seinfeld which I enjoyed.

Kramer is on a double date with a friend and is in his usual state of barely suppressed paranoia. All the people around the table are being non-committal, the small talk is excruciating and Kramer is one Quixote short of a fully tilted windmill. A waiter comes up to take their drinks order.

KRAMER: I like Merlot. Is Merlot good for you?
Girl 1: I love Merlot
Girl 2: I adore Merlot
Other guy: Merlot is my absolute favourite
WAITER: Sorry, we have no Merlot.

Kramer hysterically sweeps a wine glass off the table

Hmm... Man City winning, you liking Merr-low - we truly live in the age of topsyturvydom.

At 9:04 AM, Blogger gare aux goŻts said...

To be as open-minded as you Jamie, I admit that I enjoyed drinking Clos du Val Merlot 2001, still very youthful, with a firm structure, but very fresh with loads of joyful fruit. Yummy!

At 3:27 PM, Blogger Blanc de Noir said...

How many points do you get if the customer corrects you on the way you pronounce Merlot,(meer-low) and asks for St Emillion because it will be a better than a Merlot that you offered up.

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Salil said...

How about, as a bonus, going back to the restaurant and ordering Pinot Noir/Gris (with a hard t of course in Pinot)?

At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

At what point does the rest of the world decide that it "owns" the word "merlot" and makes it OK to be pronounced "merlow" (without the funny French "airrghh" bit in the middle?

I recall Matanzas Creek Merlot circa 1989 being my "best wine ever" at that point.

At 4:56 PM, Blogger Ron Combo said...

In Italy it is Merlot (with the T) because Italians pronounce all words exactly as they are written. If you say Merr-low the waiter doesn't know what you are talking about. So you can probably say Merlot (with the T) in an Italian restaurant and score a few points. If the rest of the sentence is in Italian of course.

At 10:17 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

On the subject of pronounciation, I've always struggled a bit with American wineries with French names - some seem to use French pronounciation of words such as 'Saint', others American. How do you pronounce Clos du Bois, or Chateau St Jean, for example?


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