18, we had 18 people turn out for a Merlot tasting two weekends ago, 18 people in 3 hours…that’s a record for The Wine Country. Never in our 14 years have we had a crappier turn out for a Saturday tasting…never ever. We advertised that we were pouring Duckhorn, the most asked about Merlot, (now I said asked about not purchased) like, ever and still 18. Unreal. I don’t think that stupid movie caused this irrational aversion to Merlot….cause you know they all taste alike them Merlots, “Try this little Chinon” I say, “What’s it like? Is it like a Merlot?”gawd I don’t even know what that means. No I think that movie was just that final nail dealie, Merlot was losing favor because of the ever trendy, “I don’t like it cuzz it’s trendy”.
Poor little Merlot quickly catapulted to the number one spot, probably by some hotshot sommelier looking to be the first to suggest something hip, cool and what all those in the know are drinking. “Cabernet Sauvignon is fine but for my money I think Merlot is much more food friendly and it’s the hottest thing in the Napa Valley….SOLD! Merlot goes from second or dare I say 4 class citizen to the most purchased wine, the most popular in restaurants, the wine everyone knew how to pronounce, (well there were a few Mer-lotters) and pronouncing that they was gonna get them some. Ah to be number one, to be the most beloved, ordered and consumed…such a lovely feeling, so powerful, so appreciated so….intoxicating, kinda hard to have that NOT go to one’s head huh? “Everyone wants me. Make more of me. Make me faster, crank me out, and stop bending me. I’m huge, my adoring fans await!” ask and ye shall receive. The market was awash in wishy-washy, thin, green tasting Merlot, um…”Yay”?
So okay, now we have tons of less good Merlot that everyone and their grannies are drinking, so what do the trend setters do next, yeah that’s right…start another fucking trend, ugh! Starts with the younger generation sommeliers and retailers, rallying against the wines their elders promoted, denouncing them as passé or, “so over” and hoisting Zinfandel and Syrah on the slightly more “sophisticated’ or “adventurous” wine consumer. All the while the occasional, just-at-a-dinner-out or “I’m taking a bottle to a friend’s house for dinner, so I’ll take something I know, something I’m comfortable with, I’ll take Merlot” crowd were blissfully sipping away while the chatter started sprinkling down from the, “Top”.
Just kind of snowballed from there. The, “looking for the next hot thing” people, tons of crappy quality, mass produced Merlot with off or thin flavors which then causes the professionals to chime in and well, you get Miles from that stupid movie leading the rest of the masses to turn their nose up at Merlot…18 people in 3 hours, it’s the new trend to hate Merlot. You hear that you young whippersnappers, all us old folk and uninformed masses are anti Merlot now so it’s time to get your hipster asses out there and make Merlot cool again, start the next anti-trend trend…by the time you’re finished it will be time for the next set of trendsetters to bail out Gruner Veltliner. Or we could all just um, I don’t know…drink what we like, not give a rat’s ass if people sneer at us over their upturned noses. Just a thought….