Meritage (rhymes with heritage) is a relatively new name, first used in the 1980′s by a group from Napa, California, and was designed to distinguish wines made from a blend of grape varieties rather than any single one. The trade-marked name is only legally available to US wineries who agree to join the Meritage Alliance and make wines in the Bordeaux-style.
The 2009 Sterling Meritage uses Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot grape varieties in the production of this wine. The aroma and flavor profile was of dark cherries, blackberries, spice, and a hint of vanilla. While this is not a bad wine, it is average at best, with a price tag of between $10 – 12, but there is nothing that stands out that would want me to purchase it again.
On a recent trip to Napa Valley, I had the privilege of going on a VIP tour of the Louis Martini Winery, and was able to sample some fantastic wines. One of the wines that I purchased from the trip was their 2006 Meritage No. 254. This wine is a red Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. The wine is produced in Cellar 254, a microwinery on the Martini estate.
In the glass this Meritage was a dark ruby red, with aromas of black cherries, blackberries, black currants, and raisins. In the mouth this wine displayed flavors of blackberries, black cherries, currants, raisins, plum and anise. This is a smooth, velvety wine with a long and luscious finish. It should continue to age well for at least 15 years. I paired this wonderful wine with beef Wellington, and they were a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, this vintage is no longer available, but I would recommend purchasing a bottle of the 2007 Meritage.