Voted VB's #1 Shelfie of the year
Have you ever wondered what "Sideways" would have been like if you had carefully removed the toxic masculinity of the two leads (no offense to Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church, who I imagine are lovely dudes)? Maybe, in that version of the movie, Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen could have led viewers through an examination of the many redeeming qualities of Merlot, the much maligned varietal that became a punchline in the wake of the film's release. But alas, we were saddled with a dangerously misguided depiction of the grape, as some sort of flabby, over-blown, obnoxiously ripe vinous pariah, one that could not be enjoyed in earnest, only as parody, with no more than irony in mind. California's treatment of the leading Bordelaise variety has, admittedly, been somewhat unkind...and that's where Rosalind Reynolds, the powerhouse behind Emme Wines comes into the picture. Her dry-farmed, organic Merlot, sourced from a tiny parcel in the Russian River Valley, has all the savory spice (think juniper and allspice) and green, rooted herbal elements (roasted poblano and chicory) that make Right Bank Bordeaux so compelling. Add in a healthy dose of black plum and cassis, bright acidity, and the gentle tug of integrated tannin, and you have a wine that totally redeems Merlot's name. It's about damn time.