Another Wine Byte 7: You Say Meritage…

Here is the seventh in our weekly series of Another Wine Bytes; information about wine you can use to impress your friends (but not in an obnoxious way, of course!)

AWByte #7 – But it Rhymes with Heritage

meritage I was pouring wine at an event a few evenings ago.  There was another person pouring who was the stereotypical wine snob.  He was acting like he had more knowledge that the rest of us — horning in on others’ customers, and giving us all instructions even though no one had put him in charge.

Granted he had, at one time, been somewhat of a local celebrity.  And I was feeling a little intimidated because it was my first time to work with these people.  But then something happened.  Mr. Know-It-All was showing a customer the wine list, and I heard him suggest a “Mehr – i – TAHge.” And the little voice in my head shouted “poseur!”

So many people want to put an implied French pronunciation on the word “Meritage.” And it’s always fun when it’s someone acting like a know-it-all. What many don’t know is that the word “Meritage” is a word used to distinguish wines that are made in the style of red Bordeaux but without infringing on that region’s legally protected designation of origin. Winemakers must license the right to use the trademark “Meritage” for their wines from The Meritage Association, based in California–not France. The Meritage designation is primarily used in the but in recent years some wineries in other countries have also started to use the designation.

In 1988, a group of American vintners formed The Meritage Association to identify hand-crafted wines blended from the traditional “noble” Bordeaux varietals including: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec or Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Sauvignon Vert. “Meritage,” pronounced like “heritage,” was selected from more than 6,000 entries in an international contest to name the new wine category. Meritage is an invented word that combines “merit” and “heritage” — reflecting the spirit of members of The Meritage Association.

Red Meritage

A red Meritage is made from a blend of two or more of the following varieties:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Malbec
  • Petit Verdot
  • St. Macaire, Gros Verdot
  • Carmenere

No single variety may make up more than 90 percent of the blend.

White Meritage

A white Meritage is made from a blend of two or more of the following varieties:

  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Semillon
  • Sauvignon Vert

No single variety may make up more than 90 percent of the blend.

You can find out more about The Meritage Association from this Fact Sheet.

Remember, Meritage rhymes with heritage. And you can certainly say it another way, if you’d prefer, as long as you don’t get offended if someone corrects you.

And that’s this week’s Another Wine Byte.


Amy Corron Power, the WineWonkette ~ Amy Corron Power,
aka WineWonkette

Posted in Education, Posts, Rant

Amy Corron Power View posts by Amy Corron Power

A licensed attorney, Amy is a wine-lover, foodie, photographer, political junkie and award-winning author who writes about Wine, Food, Beer & Spirits. As Managing Editor & Tasting Director for Another Wine Blog, she travels all over the world's wine regions to share her experiences with her readers and legions of twitter, Instagram and Facebook friends and fans. Amy holds certifications through the International Sommelier Guild, and is also certified, with honors, as a California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). She is a member of the Guild of Sommeliers, The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas and regularly attends Houston Sommelier Association events. Amy is also a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books, and was most recently published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Gratitude.
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