As a wine writer I am used to receiving media samples of wine, it happens on just about a daily basis. But recently I had an entirely new experience. I received a cake. That’s right, a cake. It came without warning or attention, a cake shrouded in mystery. After uploading a photo of the cake to social media I found out a few others had also received the cake. I am not complaining, I love cake, and this cake was chocolate and oh so good. To further the mystery the cake came with a note that explained another shipment to arrive soon….
What did the additional shipment contain? You guessed it, WINE! So please join in celebrating Markham Vineyard Merlot’s 35th birthday with wine and cake.
Markham crafts a variety of wines; however, they are known for their iconic Merlot. Bruce Markham purchased the old Laurent wintery with his wife Kate in 1977. In 1980, the first vintage of Markham Merlot was made, using Nathan Fay’s grapes. In 1993, Wine Spectator awarded Markham Merlot’s 1990 vintage “Merlot of the Year.” In 2004, wine consumers misinterpreted Merlot in the movie Sideways and the sales of Merlot suffered. However, Merlot has been on a comeback, with California Merlot consumption reaching 18 million cases in 2014. Through the ups and downs of the Merlot, Markham has quietly been crafting high quality Merlot for 35 years!
2014 Markham Vineyards Merlot Napa Valley USA ($25): 86% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petite Sirah; clear, deep ruby; clean medium aromas of juicy cherries, raspberries, blackberries, plums, black raspberries, candied violets, dark chocolate, cassis, damp tobacco leaves, minerality, cinnamon, vanilla; a well-balanced wine with medium acidity, tannins, body, and finish; juicy on the palate with silky tannins and a pleasing finish; not a complex wine but easy to drink and enjoy; a real crowd-pleaser at a great price and a great wine to pair with food. Click here to order direct from Markham, or look for it in your favorite local wine retailer.
Merlot is an agreeable wine that is typically easy to pair with a wide variety of foods. This Markham Merlot does not disappoint, as it was a great food wine. I put it to the test by pairing it with spicy buttermilk fried quail, grilled beef tenderloin tips with chimichurri sauce, and polenta topped with pan sautéed okra, tomatoes, and corn. This meal offered a wide variety of flavors and textures and it also contained some spice. The Markham Merlot blended the meal together seamlessly for a delicious dinner. For dessert, of course…cake! The chocolate cake Markham sent by We Take the Cake was decadent, rich, and delicious, everything I want in a chocolate cake. I typically do not enjoy regular wine with dessert, opting instead for a sweet dessert wine; however, time and time again Merlot proves to be the exception. The Markham 2014 Merlot was as delicious with the chocolate cake as it would be with a blackberry cobbler, cheesecake, or soufflé. It was a versatile and highly flexible food wine.
My Song Selection:
Get your own bottle of Markham Vineyard Merlot and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!