“Oh! I get it, now… Merlot is a grape!”

Do you remember your first experience with wine?

I remember when I was in sixth grade, and my neighbor and I dared each other to take a sip of the box wine in my parents’ fridge…


Let’s just say that box wine is the perfect way to get your kid to not ever start drinking.  I thank my folks for that box wine…

It kept me on the straight and narrow until I was out of high school (almost).

I remember going to college and starting to become familiar with alcohol…

My idea of a good wine back then was Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill (Come to think of it… It was pretty rad!)…  I was more of a beer guy.

The thing that really got me turned on to wine…  The reason why I ever did anything ever since I was in the fourth grade…

A girl.

I was at a bar, one night… and had hit it off with a nice young woman, so I figured I’d buy her a drink.

“What are you drinking?”

She held up the glass of red juice in her right had, and showed it to me.  “Merlot!”

“I’ll be right back!”

I muscled my way up to the bar (cash in hand), and made eye contact with the bar tender.  “Two Merlows!”

The bar tender looked back at me and asked, “What kind?”

I was confused by the question…

If I were to order a Bud, or a Sierra Nevada, I would have never gotten that question.  “I don’t understand.  That girl said she got a Merlow here… I want two of ’em.”

“I know you want two.  But what kind of Merlot do you want?” she asked again.

I looked back at her, defeated, and said, “Large!”

The bar tender turned back around to get my order… When she returned, she placed two bottles of wine on the bar.

“That’ll be thirty-five dollars.”

Confused, I handed her two twenty-dollar bills.  I grabbed the bottles and some glasses.  As I turned to walk away, I heard the bartender shout back, “Enjoy your two large Merots!  Hahahahahahaha!”

When I made it back to the girl that I had met earlier, she looked at the two bottles and said, “Sutter Home?  I hate that stuff!”

I looked at the label to find that it read “Sutter Home Merlot“.  “Oh!”  I thought to myself, “I get it, now… Merlot is a grape!”

After she filled the rest of her glass, she walked away.

And there I was… All alone… With almost two full bottles of Sutter Home Merlot.

Don’t ask me how the wine tasted…

I don’t remember…

In fact… I don’t remember much of anything from that night…

But a lesson was learned…

There is more to wine than just Red, White, and boxes.

Speaking of Merlot…  Check out the bottle I opened up the other night!

Chateau Ste Michelle 2008 Indian Wells Merlot

I picked up this large Chateau Ste Michelle 2008 Indian Wells Merlot from BevMo for $12.99.  Chateau Ste Michelle is a well-established, fairly priced winery from Washington state.  The Indian Wells series of wines are sourced from several of their estate vineyards.  Here’s how this one went down…

Color: Dark ruby-red.

Nose: Good explosion of plum, cranberry, and blackberry fruit.  There is a nice hint of crushed rock that ties all the big fruit together.

Taste: Nice soft tannins of vanilla and spice.  This is a big juicy wine.  There is a palate-coating flavor of blackberry jam.  There is a nice transition from bright acid, to dry cranberry, to a rich, medium-short finish.

Score: This is the perfect wine for a fancy Tuesday night at home.  It’s a 13 dollar Merlot that can rival those in the 20 – 25 dollar range.  Give it an 89+, and pick this one up.

So that’s it.

I’m leaving you with the same question that I started with…

Do you remember your first experience with wine?  What was it?

Let me know…

Leave a comment below.

Stay Rad,



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8 Responses to ““Oh! I get it, now… Merlot is a grape!””

  1. Keith R. Says:

    The first time I bought a bottle of wine, I was visiting a friend’s college apartment and I thought I’d be all “high class” so I picked up a bottle of Red. I showed up at the apartment and promptly put the wine in the refrigerator.

  2. jeffeckles Says:

    Well there is the first experience, which similar to you would be Boones, Mad Dog, or Sun Country, but I can’t really call those wine experiences. Then there are the memories of getting the “honor” of running to the basement when I was a kid to fill my Dad or Step-Mom’s glass of Franzia White Zin from the fridge. Again, hardly an experience.

    And there were several wine interactions since then. Some memorable, and some not so much. But for me the first true experience, or revelation moment, with wine was the first time I had a wine and food pairing that really worked. It wasn’t even the best wine in the world, but it was that “Ah Ha!!” moment when everything clicked and I realized that this wine stuff is wicked awesome.

  3. Erin Says:

    I’m with you Jeff. My first experience was the Boonze farm Strawberry wine. Now my favorite and only drink of choice would be a decent Cab. 80-90pt. I just had the 14 hands last night (Currently on Sale at Bevmo). I hope you and Kara have a great weekend 🙂

  4. Becca Rhine (@becca76) Says:

    I wasn’t a huge fan of wine until my husband brought a case of australian wine home from a deployment. I’ve been a fan ever since. My first experience with wine though I will never forget. I think I was 15. Myself, my best friend, a bottle of chardonnay stolen from the fridge at 2am, and orange juice. Needless to say we had no idea what we were doing, and it didn’t taste very good. At all. Perhaps that’s why I wasn’t a fan of wine until I was 30 😉

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