Did you know! Okanagan Valley Merlot has distinct characteristics unique to the valley's terroir. In many parts of the world, the dominant perception of Merlot is to display soft tannins and a lush, silky profile that lends itself to blending. The softening effect of Merlot on high tannin varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon creates wines with a full sumptuous body and a structured backbone.
Okanagan Valley Merlot is different. It's bold. Structured. Full Bodied. High tannins. It can stand on its own. Unique climatic factors such as the intensity of heat in the South Okanagan (especially effective in south-facing vineyards with a high degree of slope), the moderating effects of large bodies of water, and glacial soil composition all contribute to the exceptional characteristics of Okanagan Merlot. Distinctive notes of violet, chocolate and cherry are all commonly attributed.
Merlot is one of the top varietals in the region, representing 16% of total vine plantings and 31% of all red grape acreage according to the BC Wine Institute. This 2013 Merlot from Desert Hills is a splendid representation of Okanagan Valley Merlot, with grapes sourced from the Eagle's Nest Vineyard on the Black Sage Bench, Oyosoos.
So raise a glass to this beloved grape that keeps managing to find ways to survive and surprise - despite the death sentence placed on it by Paul Giamatti in the infamous film Sideways. ;)
Until next time,
XO Babbling Bottles