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Wine Term: Meritage

First things first, the way to pronounce this is as though it rhymes with “Heritage.”

This is a creation of California winemakers, and it’s a blended red wine, not a varietal wine nor variety of grape.

To classify as a Meritage wine, the blend must be made entirely from the noble grapes of Bordeaux. In so much, one grape variety must make up 90% of the blend, the remaining 10% can be any combination of the remaining Bordeaux varieties. If you’re uncertain what the noble grapes of Bordeaux are, click here.

So a few general examples of Meritage wine blends are as such:

  • 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot
  • 90% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot

While much less visible in the marketplace, you may come across a white Meritage wine from California along your wine journey. That’s a pretty simple pie to slice, generally speaking:

  • 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Semillon
  • 90% Semillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc

While infrequent, they do exist, but with the portions that make a wine a white Meritage, most winemakers just label the wine as a varietal wine, i.e. a Sauvignon Blanc, or a Semillon, and forgo the “White Meritage” titling, unless they’ve found value in that naming with their customer base (that’s usually the deciding factor in many cases when labeling a wine).



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