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!
In the third book of the trilogy (more fictionalizing here) — Punt Side Up — Miles finds himself destitute after blowing through book royalties and speaking fees.
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.
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Jim Raper said:
Miles didn’t think much of Cab Franc either. But he worshipped Cheval Blanc.
Ha, indeed true, Jim. Miles was the poster child for contradictions (which is what made him so endearing to so many :). Hope all is well!
What a genius stroke of irony to make Miles write for the Merlot Growers Society! Thank you for this creative entry for WBW79. If only you would write “Punt Side Up!”