Merlot is a versatile red vinifera grape. When
lightly pressed, the juice is a faint pink and can make a white or rose wine. Fermented on the skins, it becomes an
aromatic full bodied wine with hints of chocolate and black cherries, raspberry, strawberries, and vanilla with
soft tannins. Oak it, age it, drink it young. Merlot is traditionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet
Franc. As a varietal it has a softer, less tannic finish than the Cabs. This rich, opulent wine is perfect with
grilled foods, and in particular will bring out the best in duck and lamb. Some of our winemakers finish it sweet.
This is a personal preference....
We do not grow our own Merlot. It is not recommended for any but the most favored sites in New York. It is very
susceptible to diseases including crown gall and is very cold climate tender. However, we do buy Finger Lakes
Merlot from one of the best sites on Seneca Lake. It ripens in early October.
Due to the most recent agricultural NY disaster of 2004-2005, we were without Merlot for a short time. However,
we had it in the catalog last year. With a modest increase in price and the previous years shortage, there were
very few winemakers ordering Merlot. Tom lightly pressed the balance of our lot and blended it with about 20%
Chardonnay and created the Eye of the Pa'tridge. It was a faint rose in color and has probably finished as a white
to light rose wine.
We generally sell Merlot as a grape only. However, since the first Eye of the Pa'tridge blend was
introduced, we have offered pressed Merlot as a rosé juice. The blend of the Eye of the Pa'tridge varies from
year to year and is gaining in popularity. Merlot will not be available as juice on the first week of grape
pickups so watch or ask. As a juice, it will never have a deep color and will always be lightly pressed
as a rose. If you want a red Merlot, you must order grapes and ferment on the skins.