Meritage refers to certain American red and white wines made only from Bordeaux grape varieties. The word, which rhymes with heritage, was created by U.S. vintners in the late 1980s and reflects the Bordeaux tradition of blending. In fact, a wine can’t be called Meritage if it’s made with only one varietal or contains varietals that are not on the approved list. In addition, a winery must obtain a license to use Meritage on the label and the wine must meet certain criteria. Aldi and Trader Joe’s offer good and affordable examples.
Roustabout 2013 Meritage Paso Robles
Bought • Trader Joe’s, 48 Brentwood Promenade Court, in July for $7.99
Description • This Meritage is made in the style of “right bank” Bordeaux red wines, which tend to emphasize merlot. The Roustabout is composed of 49 percent merlot, 36 percent cabernet sauvignon and small amounts of malbec, petit verdot and cabernet franc. Medium-bodied and fruity, it tastes of black cherries, has soft tannins and is ready to drink. It would go well with beef and grilled chicken.
Outlander 2014 Meritage Paso Robles
Bought • Aldi, 7725 Manchester Road, in July for $7.99
Description • Cabernet sauvignon is the dominant grape in the Outlander so it’s more of a “left bank” Bordeaux style. The blend also contains malbec, petit verdot and merlot. The previous Outlander vintage was named a Best Buy and got 88 points from Wine Enthusiast. Tasting of plums and dark fruit, this wine is bigger in body, drier and more tannic than the Roustabout. It needs food and would go well with steak or lamb.