My last article was about the Birthday/Halloween combination party for the month of October and I had mentioned about the bottle of wine that was not drinkable. After I had finished my duties in the kitchen, I went down in the basement to find the fellow that felt bad about the wine he had brought to the party. I wanted to assuage his feelings and try to explain certain variables that may have caused the wine to go bad.
When he comes over to our house for parties, he always enjoys trying wine, as he usually is a beer drinker. So I went and poured him a glass of the Sterling Meritage 2010 that we had brought with us. This was a wine that we purchased several cases of because a local store ran a tremendous promotion on this wine, and I felt that it was an excellent value and a wine that I would not be embarrassed to serve to any of my guests. This Meritage is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Malbec in a traditional Claret style. He really enjoyed this wine, as he felt that it had a lot of body and substance to the wine.
After we had enjoyed a glass of the Sterling Meritage 2010, I went and opened up a bottle of Le Mistral 2008 from Le Mistral Vineyard of Soledad, California, in the Monterey County. This was a bottle that I had gotten from our wine club “A Taste of Monterey.” I was looking forward to trying this wine. This wine was a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Alicante Bouschet and Petite Sirah and made in consultation with the Joseph Phelps Vineyards. This wine reminded me more of a Rhone wine and I really enjoyed the flavor and the spice that the varietals imparted. My friend after drinking the wine told me that it was good, but that he enjoyed the first wine much more. He did not quite grasp why two California wines were trying to emulate French wines, and I tried to explain to him why wineries attempted these blends. I could also understand how he could enjoy the Meritage over Le Mistral, because the second wine was a much lighter wine in taste and style, and he preferred the robust flavor of a Bordeaux style wine. The next time he comes over, I will have to introduce him to a Claret from the cellar and see how he reacts to it, perhaps with a side by side tasting of the Sterling Meritage as well. I do enjoy trying to win converts over to wine, when I can.