We picked up Hogue Cellars 2010 Genesis Meritage right after we got back to the US at a Washington State origin sale at Safeway. It had been a while since I’d had a Meritage, per se. I’d had some Bordeaux blends and “Super Tuscans” while I’d been in Europe but not a US Meritage. For those of you who don’t know, Meritage is a term for a Bordeaux style of wine (different blended grapes) without using the term Bordeaux because only wine grown in that region can be called that. The rules of this style are simple. No one grape can make up the majority of the wine (90%) and certain grapes must be used in the blend for both red and white versions. Now, they have the grapes they must use but that doesn’t mean other grapes can also be thrown in that aren’t typical of the traditional varietals. So it’s not an anything goes type of blend but there is a certain amount of creative license a winemaker can take to make the product taste the way they want it to. The Hogue Cellars 2010 Genesis Meritage is a great option to get you started on exploring this style because it’s a mix of the traditional varietals. Let’s get to the juice!
The Hogue Cellars 2010 Genesis Meritage is sourced from 3 well known vineyards in the Columbia Valley AVA. The wine was left on the skins for five days and went through malolactic fermentation. It’s grape profile is: 62% Merlot, 16% Malbec
14% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 8% Petit Verdot. The wine was barrel aged for 18 months with one quarter of those barrels being new American oak. That translates to having a decent tannin structure without it feeling too dry in the mouth, a silky quality to the body of the wine and the mouth feel, and just enough new oak to impart a dry vanilla on the finish as well as a softer flavor on the whole. This wine comes in at 13.5% alcohol. We used a stemless generic glass for tasting and the wine was chilled to 65 degrees. There were no issues with the bottle or the cork. We aerated it about 5 minutes before tasting. The wine has a great red violet color. The whiff I got while opening the bottle was very dark cherry smelling!
The Hogue Cellars 2010 Genesis Meritage has a nose predominated by cherry and dark berries. It’s rounded out by a green bell pepper note and spices. The spices are a bit more exotic then your standard “baking” spice accord almost taking it to a Chai tea level. The flavor of the wine is quite similar with cherry, blackberry, and blueberry up front and the other flavors taking you through the mid and finish. The tannins are a bit aggressive at first but round out to a more well integrated feel with a few more minutes in the glass. There is also a mushroomy/meaty/unami flavor briefly in the mid palette once it opens up. As you can see I paired it with pasta which had mushrooms, tuscan kale, peppers, and spicy sausage in a light tomato sauce. The food brought out a plum note we didn’t taste at first and made the spices more intense in the finish. The finish was quite long throughout the entire development of the wine. There are the driest whispers of vanilla in the finish enhancing the “Chai” flavors. None of this flavor is sweet mind you, it’s pleasantly zippy and slightly bitter.
The bottom line is the Hogue Cellars 2010 Genesis Meritage is a great way to introduce yourself to this style of wine because of it’s classic grape profile and value. I picked this up for less then $15 and it’s average retail price is about $18. Wines of this style are rarely under $20. Is it my favorite Meritage? No, it’s not. It is, however, a great wine to serve with a casual meal that’s different from your standard issue Merlot. My husband and I have debated long and hard about the rating of this particular wine. On the standard Wine Spectator scale we’d place it between an 86 – 88 points. Our big sticking points are the unami flavor and the spice profile. They were interesting; I liked them but my husband didn’t. My only complaint with them and why I agreed with his rating is the unami flavor was so brief and fleeting it was oddly juxtaposed with the intense fruit right before it.
Have you tried the Hogue Cellars 2010 Genesis Meritage? Do you have a favorite Meritage you’d like us to rate or discuss? Let us know in the comments below.