SRP of $18 and available for as low as $12. Sample submitted for review.
From the bottle:
“Lyeth (pronounced “Leeth” Estates was created 1981 by founder Chip Lyeth, who was captivated by the Bordeaux tradition of blending different varietals to get the most intriguing, inspiring wines. In this spirit, we are proud to offer this original Meritage made in California’s Sonoma County. Luscious and full-bodied, it boasts a balanced complexity that only a truly compelling blend can offer.
If you follow The Reverse Wine Snob you know that I’m a big fan of red blends, and one of the more exciting trends to me is the rise of Meritage wines. So today we kick off a new series on Meritage. Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting a number of excellent wines, but first let’s find out a little more about Meritage blends.
One way to think of Meritage is basically a Bordeaux style blend that’s not from Bordeaux. The Bordeaux name is, of course, limited to wines that actually come from Bordeaux but Meritage wines are made in the same style. Just be sure to say it like a an American — think heritage with an M.
Just like in Bordeaux, wines must meet certain rules to be called “Meritage”. This is regulated by the Meritage Alliance, which began as a California organization but now has members from 7 different countries. Regardless of the country of origin, the varieties allowed in red Meritage wines are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carmenere. Wines must contain at least two varieties, without any comprising more than 90% of the total. We’ll have more info on Meritage wines as we continue on with our series, but for now let’s get to today’s wine, shall we?
The 2010 Lyeth Meritage begins with pleasing aromas of black cherry cola, raspberry, cedar and a little chocolate. The wine tastes really excellent with similar flavors as the bouquet. Be sure to give it a little time to breathe — we found it might have even been a little better on day 2! Very fruity, nice firm tannins and a dry finish with good length round out this excellent Meritage blend!
Wine in the “Make Mine A Meritage” series:
- Lyeth Meritage 2010 – Make Mine A Meritage Wine #1
- Hahn Winery Central Coast Meritage 2010 – This ain’t no second class Bordeaux.
- Dry Creek Vineyard Sonoma County Meritage 2008 – Smooth Drinking Ahead!
- Fox Run Vineyards Meritage 2010 – Proof the Finger Lakes offers a lot more than Riesling.
- Arrowhead Red Meritage 2008 – It’s easy to fall for this Meritage from Niagara.
- Dry Creek Vineyard The Mariner Meritage 2008 – Splice the mainbrace!
- Estancia Reserve Meritage 2009 – Sweet oak and rich fruit wrapped up in a smooth package.
- Kirkland Signature Rutherford Napa Valley Meritage 2011 – A Sure Thing!
- Chateau Ste Michelle Artist Series Meritage 2008 – A Work of Art
- Arrowhead Spring Vineyards Meritage Reserve 2008 – A blackberry patch in a bottle.
- Franciscan Estate Magnificat Napa Valley Meritage 2009 – Magnificent Magnificat.
Overall Rating: 7.8
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