Wine Blogging Wednesday 79 — Merlot for Miles
Ok, so much for that auto post on so-and-so-day at thus-and-so time (operator error, no doubt)… Better late than never I suppose.
July 25th marks the 79th edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday — the (almost) monthly virtual wine gathering. Our host this month is Liza (on Twitter: @BrixChick_Liza), from the group of wine ladies know as Brix Chicks. Our theme this month is Summer Reading, Summer Wine. As a voracious reader of fiction, I unilaterally award Liza serious extra hosting credits for a cool theme this month.
Our charge for WBW79 Summer Reading, Summer Wine is to write about a wine (and taste of course) our favorite fictional character would drink. Though I would enjoy choosing a wine and narrative for a few of my favorite fictional characters — Jake Barnes, Hal Incandenza, Stephen Dedalus, Amory Blaine — I decided to go with a more wine-centric and timely choice instead.
With the Wine Bloggers Conference in Oregon just a few weeks away, much of my reading time as of late has been devoted to Oregon-centric educational reads like Katherine Cole’s Voodoo Vintners and Cole Danehower’s Essential Wines and Wineries of the Pacific Northwest, along with one not-so-educational, yet hilarious (at times) read — Vertical, Rex Pickett’s (on Twitter: @RexPickett) sequel to his first novel, Sideways, and the film adaptation.
The film version of Sideways was wildly successful at the box office grossing over $250 million and the recipient of over 350 awards, including an Academy Award. By far the most popular wine-related film ever, Sideways is credited as the catalyst for two significant shifts — known as The Sideways Effect — in the wine industry: first, setting off a revolution of new Pinot Noir drinkers (thereby increasing global Pinot Noir sales by 14%), and, at the same time, causing the nose dive of the Merlot industry.
Sideways fans (and Merlot producers) remember Miles Raymond — a devout Pinot Noir evangelist with an intense dislike for Merlot — who uttered the infamous and oft quoted lines; “…if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am not drinking any f*cking Merlot.” So, in the spirit of taking fictional liberties, my fictional character for WBW79 is one Miles Raymond, and my wine of choice for Mr. Raymond is… of course… a Merlot!
To preserve his lifestyle, and to continue to provide never-ending financial assistance to his best, and only, friend Jack as he moves in and out of sex addiction rehab, and to also support the child he fathered with a deranged Shameless groupie during a one-night-stand after a book signing, Miles accepts the Writer-in-Residence position with the Merlot Growers Society of America. His first charge is to chronicle the history of Merlot for a coffee table book.
My choice for Mile’s Merlot for WBW79 is the Breaux Vineyards 2002 Merlot Reserve (on Twitter: @BreauxVineyards) produced by Breaux Vineyards in the Loudoun County region of Virginia. As an adjunct to the Merlots of America coffee table book, Miles is also tasked with writing a tasting guide featuring Merlots from all 50 states — including many Merlots from Virginia. The entry for this particular Merlot; ‘An expressive wine characterized by pure dark fruit, mocha, hints of tobacco and earth. Not just good Virginia Merlot, this Breaux Merlot is damn good Merlot!‘
On a serious note, the 2002 Merlot from Breaux Vineyards has been one of my favorite Virginia wines since first tasting this gem in 2008. This Merlot is an excellent example of a superbly balanced wine that continues to improve with age. Unfortunately I only have two more bottles on my racks and this particular vintage is nearly impossible to get now. If you can find this wine, I highly recommend picking up a couple bottles.
Thanks Liza for a unique topic for this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday, and providing a great occasion to open one of my favorite Virginia wines. A virtual tip ‘o the hat to Lenn Thompson and Tim Elliott for keeping this monthly wine gathering going — cheers guys!
For more of the Sideways backstory, check out my interview with Rex Pickett here.
Questions, Comments, Complaints, Random Observations? Contact Me Here