I’ll admit it. I have fallen victim to many a trend, especially in my 20s. The wishy-washy years where you virtually swing from trend to trend. If I could have all of the money back that I spent on clothes worn once, I could have a lovely wine “closet.” (Yes, no cellar for this Texan, closet) In fact, if I had just saved on all of the trends and bought something classic and lovely, I would still be wearing it. Something classic and lovely, just like a Merlot.
When I first began drinking wine, I can recall more than a few gasps when I admitted to preferring Merlot to Cab. In general, if forced to pick, I chose Merlot. I get it. It is hard to beat a Cab (Franc or Sauvignon) with a steak. I won’t argue that. But, for versatility-appetizer through dessert-I would choose Merlot. The men in my life rarely agreed, but that was okay. I liked the round, juicy fruit of a Merlot. I remember feeling like I was “wrong,” but for a people-pleaser, it was a baby-step of self-assertion I was willing to take.
Bob Ecker wrote a great piece in Thursday’s Napa Valley Register, “After being slammed by Hollywood, Merlot is getting its due again.” He had me at “Merlot” but I was sold when he gave props to one of my favorites, Gundlach Bundschu. After taking a whooping from the Pinot-loving Sideways film, the much defamed grape is back. Well, it never left. Those who do it well, just maintained, or improved, and have been waiting patiently.
There is a beauty in aging. We settle into our own and give a more well-rounded representation of who we are. We lose our harsh edges (hopefully) and become unapoligettically unique. We are not as easily swayed by the trends of the moment and more likely to speak boldly about who we are. As long as we are properly corked (at times, ahem) and given the proper care, age does wonders. Like a fine wine; like a fine Merlot.