Wine Crush Wednesday – Pine Ridge ‘Crimson Creek’ Merlot, Napa Valley, CA ’08


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Wine Crush Wednesday by Stephen Willson

Welcome to Wine Crush Wednesdays, or “WCW” if you’re in a hurry. Each Wednesday we will bring you a different, dreamy wine to crush over. November is here. It’s cold outside. At this point in the season, sweaters, hoodies, and fleece, have become wardrobe staples. Once again, we have come to appreciate all that is warm, soft, and fuzzy, in the world. This week’s wine is equally cozy and comfy.

Pine Ridge “Crimson Creek” Merlot from Napa Valley, CA, is a warm, fuzzy blanket in a bottle. Merlot is just like that. Ripe fruit flavors of plum and berry preserves give a pleasing first impression. The fruit takes center stage while undertones of baking spice, cigar box, and espresso add depth and dimension to this beauty of a wine. The body is rich and soft like your favorite cashmere sweater. The tannins have a most pleasurable velvety texture that wraps your mouth in a luxurious blanket of perfection. The ripe fruit makes for a wine with a little more alcohol to it, thus providing those warming qualities.

A lot of people out there don’t give merlot the recognition and love it deserves. You might know someone who hates on merlot; perhaps they are a close friend, a family member, or even a lover. Their mind has been polluted by experiences with the cheap merlot that comes in big bottles and, all too often, shows up at dinner parties and family holidays. Maybe they have been brainwashed by equally terrible movies in or around 2004 which falsely accuse this noble grape variety of being universally boring and bad. Stop listening to these people, and stop drinking bad merlot!

To me, merlot is soft, delicious, and beautiful. It is also easy to drink. You don’t have to think about why great merlot is special, it’s obvious after the first sip. Break down stereotypes and preconceived notions that merlot isn’t worth your time. This wine is pure pleasure!

Pine Ridge “Crimson Creek” Merlot will pair beautifully with filet mignon, red wine braised chicken thighs, olives, hard cheeses, cold nights, fireplaces, fleece pullovers, cashmere sweaters, rosey cheeks, roasted squash, mild curry dishes, or roasted duck. Fall in love with merlot, the warm fuzzy blanket in a bottle.

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