Meritage is a name for red and white Bordeaux-style wines, it’s also known as “Summation.” Founded in 1988, California’s The Meritage Alliance wanted to promote blended wines from Napa Valley and grew frustrated with varietal wine-labeling requirements. They created this name to help promote their blends.
Red Meritage is the most common blend; it includes any combination of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, St. Macaire, Gros Verdot or Carménère. The three varietals that are most popularly blended are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Red Meritage blends are typically rich and full of flavours and aromas; you can detect dark fruits, vanilla and spice. White Meritage is more rare, it’s essentially a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon and sometimes includes Muscadelle.
To be considered a Meritage, the wine cannot be mass-marketed and must be under 25,000 cases. Wineries that are members of the alliance are typically from the United States, though they are increasing worldwide. There are members in Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Israel and Mexico. Meritage red wine blends typically go well with steak, roast beef, and game meats.
In summary, Meritage has the following characteristics:
- Meritage is a name for red and white Bordeaux-style wines
- Red Meritage is the most common blend and includes many different combinations of red wine grapes
- Most popular Meritage varietals are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot
- Rich and full of flavours and aromas such as dark fruits, vanilla and spice
- White blends are not as popular, typically a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon
- Must be under 25,000 cases to be considered a Meritage blend
- Members of the Meritage Alliance are mostly in US, but there are members in countries all over the world
- Most red wine Meritage blends go well with steak, roast beef or game meats