Wine Wednesday – 2011 Blackstone Merlot

Ah, all is good, another Wine Wednesday! I know you are saying – A MERLOT – that is so out of fashion, but it still remains a classic grape that produces some wonderfully delicious wines. Did you know that it is still the most widely planted grape in the Bordeaux region of France? And the French know something about wine! So give this one a try, you won’t be sorry.

2011 Blackstone Merlot

2011 Blackstone Merlot

This wine is a blend of several different grapes, predominantly Merlot at 82%, followed by 4% Petite Sirah, 10% Syrah, 2% Cabernet, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Rubired. The grapes for this wine are blended together from many of the high quality wineries across central and southern California.

The wine itself is deep red in color with aromas of dark cherry, plum, spicy pomegranate and a rich earthiness. I liked this wine because it was on the dry side and very delicate with cherry and plum flavors and that wonderful hint of vanilla. The finish was pleasant, a lingering crispness with a slightly tangy bite . It is an easy to drink wine and a great value at under $10 and one I will definitely stock up on for my everyday wine.

Food Pairing: Merlot is very much like a Pinot Noir in that it pairs with almost any meal. Serve with dinners of Italian spaghetti and lasagna, pork and veal roasts, dishes with heavier cheese sauces and even barbecue.

Price: $7.99

Rating 4 out of 5

Linda's Signature


Wine Wednesday – 2007 Bodega Norton Privada

I first had this at a neighbor’s house and was so impressed that I had to ask where he bought it and stock up on some myself. This is a wonderfully delicious wine for that special occasion and one that won’t make a big dent in your wallet.

2007 Bodega Norton Privada

2007 Norton Privada

A fruit-forward Malbec/Bordeaux blend from Argentina with just the right amount of spiciness and minerals. Comprised of 40%Malbec, 30% Cabernet and 30% Merlot it is the perfect combination that is both well balanced and full-bodied. Aromas of blackberry, raspberry, chocolate and smoke greet your nose and upon first sip you will be met with flavors of cherry, dark fruit and toasty oak along with a naturally smooth, slightly chocolatey finish.

A great wine for the money. Decant prior to serving to enhance aromas and flavors.

Food Pairing: Pair this wine with steak, braised or barbecued beef, game, lamb, Mexican, Italian or other spicy ethnic foods as well as bratwurst and other hearty meats. Truly a versatile wine!

Price Point: $19.99

Rating 4 out of 5

For all my Irish friends

Traditionally an Easter Sunday dinner in Ireland – Corned Beef and Cabbage is today’s national food holiday.  Try pairing this recipe with a Merlot from California, such as San Simeon Merlot Paso Robles 2006 or Robert Hall Merlot 2009, as they are soft and fruity which compliments this meal perfectly.

cornedbeefandcabbageCorned Beef with Cabbage

Epicurious  | February 2008

by Darina Allen – Irish Traditional Cooking

photo by Michelle Garrett and Kevin Dunne


  • 4 lb corned brisket of beef
  • 3 large carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 6 to 8 small onions
  • 1 teaspoon dry English mustard
  • large sprig fresh thyme and some parsley stalks, tied together
  • 1 cabbage
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


Put the brisket into a saucepan with the carrots, onions, mustard and the herbs. Cover with cold water, and bring gently to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut in quarters and add to the pot. Cook for a further 1 to 2 hours or until the meat and vegetables are soft and tender.

Serve the corned beef in slices, surrounded by the vegetables and cooking liquid. Serve with lots of floury potatoes and freshly made mustard.

Christina signature 3