In 1988, the Meritage Alliance was formed by a number of California wineries. Meritage, pronounced like heritage, is an effort to create a category for New World wines blended with the traditional Bordeaux varietals.
Today, such names as Mondavi, Flora Springs, Franciscan and Edna Valley are all members, but I feel very few wineries have put any weight behind this alliance.
What I have found is that occasionally one of these things strikes me and I get on board. The 2010 North Coast Lock & Key Meritage is one of those wines.
This strutting red is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc, and hails from Sonoma and Lake counties, and spent time in both wood and bottle before release.
This is a very serious drinking wine – it can go three or so more years – with beguiling aromas of red fruits, some cedar and a great spiciness.
The mouth is rather succulent with great-tasting blackberry and plum flavors with hints of dark chocolate and that tantalizing tobacco and spice combo. It is hardly supple but it is round, with nice acidity and it is just a pleasure to drink. Succulent is the word indeed. The wine sells for $13 a bottle and can be found at Glazer Wines in Columbus.
Roger Gentile is the owner of Gentile’s, the Wine Sellers – www.gentiles.com – and the author of two books on wine.