Sterling Merlot


Name Sterling Vintner's Collection

Varietal Merlot

Region Central Coast, California

Country USA

Year 2014

Price $12.29

Sterling really created a beauty with this wine. Part of their more affordable "Vintner's Collection," I did not feel like I was drinking a $12 wine at all. Soft tannins, complimented by the juicy, red fruit you expect in a California Merlot. Baxter and I looked at each other and simultaneously said "new favorite!"

I recently featured this wine in a piece I did for FIGS, rounding up some must-have wines for the holidays. Can you believe Christmas is only a few days away? I am currently in Florida enjoying 85 degree weather, and I ain't mad about it. As we plan the menu for Christmas dinner, I get so excited about pairing wines with the foods. I often get questions about food and wine pairings, and they are some of my favorite to answer. To me, it is like finding two puzzle pieces that fit perfectly together! I am such a nerd when it comes to wine! Ha!

There are so many approaches to pairing. Some people enjoy contrasting flavors, such as an acidic and zippy wine with a heavier dish. Think, lemon juice or vinegar to brighten up your fish and chips. I personally enjoy complementary pairings. If the dish has warm and earthy flavors, such as a mushroom risotto, I would pair a wine that has earthy notes, like a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. If you are having a big feast, such as Christmas dinner, and there are so many different foods, try a wine that complements the majority of the food or something that is subtle and won't over-power any of the dishes. But at the end of the day, remember to drink what you like. I have said it before, and I will say it again, wine is made to be enjoyed. Never over complicate it.

Here are a few of my favorite pairings:

1. Roasted asparagus + Gruner Veltliner

2. Oysters on the half shell + Muscadet

3. BBQ + Rose

4. Burgers + Beaujolais

5. Asian food + Riesling

What are some of your favorite pairings?

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