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Meritage

From Academic Kids

Meritage is a word used to distinguish wines that are made in the style of Bordeaux but without infringing on that region's legally protected appellation. The result of a contest to coin a new word that would serve as its own brand rather than trading on a European place name, it is a combination of "merit" and "heritage," and is pronounced to rhyme with the latter word. Without a brand name like Meritage, a wine would have to be labeled "Red Table Wine" (or "White Table Wine") or given a proprietary name unique to the winery. The Meritage name is copyright of the Meritage Association (http://www.meritagewine.org ) and can only be used by member wineries that pay a fee per case of wine, which must also be the best wine of their type sold by the winery. The Meritage Association only accepts US wineries as members. Although wines from other countries may be labeled as Meritage, they do not necessarily conform to the specification.

Red wine from Bordeaux is made with certain grape varieties, principally Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. A red Meritage is made from at least two of these grapes (or the less well known St. Macaire, Gros Verdot, and Carmenere), and typically would not be permitted to be sold as a varietal wine since it can contain no more than 90% of any one grape (what can be sold as a varietal in the United States, however, depends on U.S. state laws).

White Meritage bears the same relationship to white Bordeaux as its red counterpart. It is a blend of at least two of the grapes Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Sauvignon Vert.

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