Making Merlove

January 25, 2010

Merlove_largeMy much beloved spouse and I finally got an evening to relax,  kick back and watch movie that she got for me over the holidays (it was on Santa’s list).
Merlove ~ a Documentary About Merlot Wine (2008) is a home spun retort to the epic effect which another movie ( Sideways ), had on American perceptions about the Merlot grape,  and the subsequent ramifications in the U.S. wine marketplace.   Truth be told, in this country the Merlot wine market was driven into a corner, over-cropped, over-produced, quality was overlooked, and it really had no escape from the fickle American consumer, who by that time, was looking for a reason to switch to another wine. (Pinot Noir enter stage left…)  All it took, was a single line from Paul Giamatti, and the trigger was pulled.
Now just because Rudy McClain and his small crew wrote, directed, animated,  and produced Merlove themselves…did the DVD press, and are marketing and distributing this themselves as well, don’t consider it a small time piece of film art (or something that could have been relegated to YouTube).  Talk about having the right idea, in the right place, and the right time, taking the plunge, making the commitment, and using one door to open another.  Merlove is not only a documentary that provides enlightening interviews, and enters some of the most hallowed halls of vintdom, but is a poetic meditative interlude about a single grape in an “ocean of wine”.  It speaks less about Merlot, than it does about the infant U.S. wine culture.
An excellent gift for any wine lover, and certainly a must for any snob that says they will not drink any “f*#king Merlot”!

while watching the movie we enjoyed a bottle of 2007 Concha Y Toro - Casiellero Del Diablo - Merlot recognizable by the standard devil’s head label on the shoulder, noticeable for regular quality, and remarkable because of its price.   The Del Diablo line from Concha Y Toro is named for the 19th century legend propagated by the founder, into the communities surrounding the Pirque, Chile winery in order to keep thieves from pilfering the cellars.  It worked and in some other post I’ll show you pictures of the place.
The ironic thing is, because the quality is so good,  for something priced normally in the $7 - $12/ bottle range (depending on state market), it is really still a steal for the consumer,and we do not have to sneak into the cellar.
These wines are good right out of the bottle, but try decanting anything from this line, for at least a 1/2 hour, and I promise you will be even more pleased with what you find hiding behind this low price tag.

Feel confident trying any of the varietals…Cabernet Savignon, Carmenere ( personal favorite ), Merlot, and Chardonnay are readily available in VT and NH.  Somebody let me know if you find the Syrah anywhere…it regularly scores well in Wine Spectator but is rarely seen in these parts.

THIS JUST IN:  Merlot - not dead yet!
Despite poor perceptions, and popular response it turns out that Merlot is growing stong in the US according to this Nielsen Report.


Comments (1)


  1. Joel Ohmart says:

    Glad your spreading the Merlove, fire away with your strange Lodi grape question. I will do my best to answer it, but I am sure I can find someone who can if I cant.

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