Wine Club Notes:
Do you love chicken and red wine, but never thought about serving the two together?

Traditionally, chicken – whether it’s baked, broasted or fried…and whether it’s lightly seasoned or flavored with “11 herbs and spices” – is served with white wine. Chardonnay is usually a good match, and so are varieties such as Chenin Blanc and Pinot Grigio.

Rare is the red wine that doesn’t simply overpower the flavors of poultry, leaving the diner with a culinary conundrum. But as one member of our tasting panel discovered when she took a bottle home, the 2011 California Merlot from Quail Hollow Winery is a wonderful match with both chicken and turkey – as long as you’re noshing on the dark meat of the bird.

The Quail Hollow Merlot is soft, supple, fruit-forward and easy drinking, not to mention extremely food-friendly. And, in an admittedly rare occurrence, that friendliness extends even to some of our formerly feathered friends.

Tasting Notes
Grape Composition: Merlot and Other Red Varieties
Grape Source: Select Vineyards in Various California Growing Regions
Aromas and Flavors: Black Cherry, Plum and Assorted Herbs
Aging Vessels: Assorted Oak Barrels
When to Drink: Now through 2015
Food Pairing Suggestions: Dark-meat chicken or turkey.

My Thoughts

First, who writes this shit?! I think they’re a little too excited about being able to pair Merlot with poultry. Ok ok, I know, they’re right on this one. It went great with some leftover lemon chicken and white rice. As for turkey? I wouldn’t be offended if this graced the Thanksgiving dinner table.

It has a very light, but fruity and fragrant aroma. Those first sips I detected notes of black cherry and possibly a hint of citrus. I would call this a Merlot with training wheels. If you fear red wines, as I did for quite some time, this is an excellent choice to broaden your wine horizons. This, this right here, is the white wine drinker’s Merlot.

Yes, I am partial to white wines. Yes, I have been trying out loads of red wines, because dammit, I will find some that I love! I have been having some luck lately. And this one has definitely earned its spot on the Red Wines I Love list. So far I believe there are now two…

On a scale of “this tastes like piss” to “oops, I just drank the whole bottle” I would give this a “Someone’s gonna get Mer-loaded tonight!” Would I buy it again? Absolutely! I may use this as an excuse to make a turkey…

Final Grade: A

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