#MerlotMe Confession with Duckhorn and Pork Chops #WinePW
Wine Pairing Weekend and #MerlotMe
Welcome to our October edition of our Wine Pairing Weekend group! This month, we teamed up with the big #MerlotMe celebration, and we’re all featuring dishes we have paired with Merlot.
If you see this post soon enough, please feel free to join our chat on Twitter. Simply look for the #WinePW hashtag on Twitter Saturday morning, October 10 from 10-11am CDT. Even if you miss our Saturday chat, check out our hashtag as most of us will share multiple posts during October.
My Merlot Confession
The way I think of it, I have an Old World palette; my friends probably would say it differently. They cringe when they come to our house, expecting me to open some barny, earthy, lean red wine. So you see, I have an American wine problem. In addition, I unconsciously have a special ignorance for Merlot. Unfortunately, this means I miss a lot of beautiful wines produced here in the US, and I struggle to find wines that friends and I can both enjoy.
When the MerlotMe group of wineries approached our Wine Pairing Weekend group, I was a little nervous; what if I didn’t care for the wines? I figured if nothing else, I could fairly evaluate the wines as appropriate for a more typical American palate. To my surprise, I needn’t have worried!
Wine Pairing with Merlot
The first thing that comes to mind for food to enjoy with Merlot is a nice steak, roast, stew, or braise of beef. Beef would be easy, but how about something else? How about pork chops?
The Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot was the first sample to arrive. Here’s the info from the Duckhorn website:
“Varietal Content 88% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec Cooperage 100% French Oak Château-style Barrels (60 Gallons) Barrel Aging: 16 Months Age of Barrels: 25% new, 75% second vintage
Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 2012 ($54 retail, sample provided by winery)
Eye: Clear, opaque center fading to a purple rim.
Nose: Bright blue fruit, very clean on the nose. Just a touch of depth from oak influence, but barely noticeable.
Mouth: Medium body, medium tannins, not rough. Nice blue fruit, lean, very nice. Sorry, I don’t know what an olallieberry is.
I was very impressed with the Duckhorn Merlot as a wine I could serve to friends without their wondering about my sanity. No one would mistake it for an Old World wine (fine, because it is from California!), but it also avoids the excessive fruit and oak that still seem to pervade many of the choices on store shelves. Bravo!
Wine Pairing Merlot with Pork
If the pork chop is unadorned, I would often pick a fuller bodied white over a red wine as the better pairing. The addition of the deep flavors of the wine based sauce with both red fruit and earthy mushrooms definitively shifts the balance to a red wine. While deeply flavored, the dish isn’t particularly fatty, so the more toned-down tannins of the Merlot seem just right. All in all, this was a wonderful combination.
#WinePW Bloggers and #MerlotMe
Take a look at all the great suggestions for your next dinner over a bottle of Merlot. Our group had a great time working out a variety of options, I hope you’ll give some of them a try.
- Martin at Enofylz with An Exploration Of Merlot’s Food Pairing Versatility With Ethnic Fare
- Lori at Dracaena Wines with #MerlotMe and #WinePW– A Perfect Pair[ing]
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla with Fungi, Fun Guy, & Two Napa Valley Merlots
- Christy at Confessions of a Culinary Diva with Return to the Magic of Merlot
- Cindy at Grape Experiences with #MerlotMe with Duckhorn and J.Lohr paired with Duck Breasts Provençale
- Erin at Platings and Pairings with Gnocchi with Frizzled Prosciutto and Blue Cheese
- Sarah at Curious Cuisiniere with Beef Osso Buco and an Exploration of Merlot Wine
- Jennifer at VinoTravels with Merlot pairings with Polenta and Sausage
- David at Cooking Chat #MerlotMe Wine & Roasted Rosemary Pork Chops
- Jade at Tasting Pour with Lamb and Acorn Squash Autumn Skillet
- Michelle at Rockin Red Blog with Celebrating #MerlotMe with #WinePW
Adapted from a recipe in Cook’s Illustrated Best Light Recipe. Note: This dish comes together very quickly at the end, so have all your ingredients prepped beforehand – mise en place! Serve with pearled barley and sauteed broccolini Ingredients Instructions
Pork Chops with Cherry Mushroom Merlot Sauce
Adapted from a recipe in Cook’s Illustrated Best Light Recipe.
Note: This dish comes together very quickly at the end, so have all your ingredients prepped beforehand – mise en place!
Serve with pearled barley and sauteed broccolini
- Pasture raised, grass fed pork from Sunshine Harvest Farm
Disclosure – Wine was provided as a sample, all opinions are my own
Note: Watch for more Merlot-heavy posts in October! (click on any photo to see full size slideshow)