Super Italian Merlot Tasting with Special Guest DR. Robert Maliner

Friday, August 13, 2021 - 07:30 PM

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Jack: If they want to drink Merlot, we're drinking Merlot.

Miles Raymond: No, if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any fu*&^% Merlot!



Merlot is the second most planted varietal on the planet earth, although its popularity has helped give this outstanding varietal an identity crisis.

The name Merlot is thought to be a diminutive of merle, the French name for the blackbird, probably a reference to the color of the grape. Its softness and "fleshiness", combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot a popular grape for blending with the sterner, later-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon, which tends to be higher in tannin.

When done right Merlot is one of the greatest wines on the planet.  When it is done wrong it is one of the least enjoyable of all wines.  After the boom of the late 1990’s which was sparked by the nations’ most popular news programs 60 minutes expose called “the French Paradox” where they discovered that the consumption of wine was linked to superior heath in people from France.  The U.S. started drinking more wine and Merlot was the bell of the ball so wineries planted this finicky varietal all over the state of California and beyond to quench the demand for this healthy elixir.  

Little did they know that there are only a few places on earth that can make exceptional Merlot.  So it may have been Merlot’s good fortune that Miles in the movie “Sideways” slowed the popularity of this varietal and stopped wineries from planting this varietal in all the wrong places.

There are only a few places on earth where Merlot can reach greatness: Bordeaux (the homeland for this varietal), Italy, Washington State, Northern California and South Australia. So, we have included all the wines we have in the store from these regions on this offering.

Tonight, we will experience the best Merlot that Italy has to offer all from the cellars of Dr. Robert Maliner.  Join us as we experience a dozen wines back to the 1987 vintage along with a special five course tasting menu to accompany these great vintage Italian Merlot.  The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $395 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail


Super Italian Merlot Tasting
With Special Guest Dr. Robert Maliner
Friday, August 13th, 2021


1987 Castello di Ama L’Apparita Tuscany

1994 Ornellaia Masseto Tuscany

1995 Famiglia Cotarella Falesco  Montiano Lazio

1996  Tenuta di Ghizzano Namrut Rosso Tuscany

1996 Tua Rita Redigaffi Tuscany

1997 Siepi, Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli (50% Merlot, 50% Sangiovese) Tuscany

1997  Salamartano,  Fattoria Montellori, Tuscany  (50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon)

1997  Tua Rita Giusto di Notri, Tuscany  (45% Merlot,  55% Cabernet Sauvignon)

2000 La Macchile Messorio Tuscany

2000 San Giusto a Renennano La Ricolma Tuscany

2007 Mataroccio Guado al Tasso Tuscany

2012  Plantonaia, Podere Poggio Scalette, Tuscany



Selection of Cheese and Charcutere
Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Balsamic Drizzle
Ravioli filled with Mushroom Duxelle Served over Browned Butter with Sundried Tomato
45 Day Dry Aged Ribeye with Merlot Natural Sauce
Dark Chocolate Crème Brulee


The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $395 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail


Origins of Merlot:

In the late 1990s, researchers at University of California, Davis showed that Merlot is an offspring of Cabernet Franc and is a half-sibling of Carménère, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. The identity of the second parent of Merlot wouldn't be discovered till the late 2000s when an obscure and unnamed variety, first sampled in 1996 from vines growing in an abandoned vineyard in Saint-Suliac in Brittany, was shown by DNA analysis to be the mother of Merlot.

This grape, later discovered in front of houses as a decorative vine in the villages of Figers, Mainxe, Saint-Savinien and Tanzac in the Poitou-Charentes was colloquially known as Madeleina or Raisin de La Madeleine due to its propensity to be fully ripe and ready for harvest around the July 22nd feast day of Mary Magdalene. As the connection to Merlot became known, the grape was formally registered under the name Magdeleine Noire des Charentes. Through its relationship with Magdeleine Noire des Charentes Merlot is related to the Southwest France wine grape Abouriou, though the exact nature of that relationship (with Abouriou potentially being either a parent of Magdeleine Noire or an offspring) is not yet known.

Grape breeders have used Merlot crossed with other grapes to create several new varieties including Carmine (an Olmo grape made by crossing a Carignan x Cabernet Sauvignon cross with Merlot), Ederena (with Abouriou), Evmolpia (with Mavrud), Fertilia (with Raboso Veronese), Mamaia (a Romanian wine grape made by crossing a Muscat Ottonel x Babeasca negra cross with Merlot), Nigra (with Barbera), Prodest (with Barbera) and Rebo (with Teroldego).

Over the years, Merlot has spawned on color mutation that is used commercially, a pink-skinned variety known as Merlot gris. However, unlike the relationship between Grenache noir and Grenache blanc or Pinot noir and Pinot blanc, the variety known as Merlot blanc is not a color mutation but rather an offspring variety of Merlot crossing with Folle blanche.



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