(Meritage Blanc pronunciation: MEH-ri-tahj Blahnk)
In order to be considered a Meritage wine, red or white, this Bordeaux style wine must follow a few rules. First, it must contain a minimum of two of the permissible grapes, which for Meritage Blanc would be Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle du Bordolais. Adding to this, one of these three varieties cannot account for more than 90 percent of the finished product. Finally, the wine must be high-end and exclusive with fewer than 25,000 cases produced annually.
So why are they called Meritage, and what does Meritage mean?
Well, these wines gained their names by being produced by members of the non-profit organization, the Meritage Alliance, which was established in 1988. The overall goal of the Meritage Alliance was to endorse Napa Valley wine blends. Just as they endorse blends, their name, Meritage, is a blend of the words merit and heritage, selected to express both quality and history.
Meritage Blanc, often referred to as White Meritage, is much more rare than, and quite simpler than its red counterpart, containing only Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, sometimes with hints of Muscadelle. The Sauvignon Blanc helps produce a dry, yet bright white wine with a defined structure. Sémillon on the other hand adds complexity to the Meritage white blend. Finally, Muscadelle du Bordolais, used in minuscule amounts, contributes fruitiness and a powerful floral aroma to the final Meritage blend.
Meritage wines are growing increasingly popular, and pair wonderfully with a variety of seafood and poultry. We have been lucky enough to feature a 2017 Meritage Blanc from 50 Harvests in our Gold Wine Club, which is also available in our online wine store, so be sure to check it out, and get your hands on a bottle before we run out!