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Teresa Delmare
March 20, 2016 | Teresa Delmare

The Story of Meritage

It’s Meritage time! This it the time of the year where we release the new vintage of our favorite red. A staple of our wine list, Meritage is the 2nd fastest growing wine category in the world. Red wine blends are becoming a standard in the wine industry and offer robust competition to single varietal blends such as Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon. We here at Rappahannock Cellars are represented by our Meritage—it is our quality standard. But what exactly does it mean when a red-blend is labeled ‘Meritage?’

The word ‘Meritage’ is a combination of the words ‘merit’ and ‘heritage.’ It embodies the idea that both the merit (quality) of the grapes is combined with the old-world style of winemaking. Meritage delivers guaranteed quality in a glass, because we use the best of our barrels and the best of our grapes. New-world and old-world styles both provide their own unique values. While new-world style wines focus mainly on single varietals, the old-world style wines celebrate the terroir alongside the tradition of blending.

The Meritage Alliance, featured in wineries all around the world, was developed in the late 1980s, when many in the industry wanted to re-emphasize blending. The only grapes used in a Meritage blend are the ‘Noble’ grapes of bordeaux: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petite Verdot, St. Macaire, and Carmenere. The wine must feature a blend of at least two of the listed grape varietals and no single grape can make up 90% of the final blend. If you follow the regulations and quality standards and belong to the Meritage Alliance, a wine can then be called a Meritage. 

The newest vintage of Rappahannock Cellar's Meritage 2014 is released this month! A pre-release to be sure, but a wine that's filled with delicious fruit characteristics and aged in 30% new French oak. 2014 being a lovely vintage for Virginia (a warm and dry growing season!), the Meritage is comprised of the best of the 2014 Petit Verdot with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cab Franc. A nice aging wine (if you can keep it in your cellar that long) the Meritage is yummy to drink right now as well.







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