We continue to celebrate #MerlotMe at Crushed Grape Chronicles! Today we dive into two Merlots that are relatively easy to find and affordable. These are two you might pick up today for a pairing!
We paired them with an easy earthy dish of cous cous and black beans, which is easily made vegetarian by adjusting your stock to vegetable stock.
*These wines were received as media samples for the #MerlotMe campaign, all opinions remain our own.
We’ve written about Bonterra before tasting and pairing their Sauvignon Blanc back in the spring, and their Merlot last October Merlot from 2 big-name companies, that are worth finding for different reasons
Bonterra focuses on Organic and Biodynamic wines. They care deeply about the planet and the soil and work closely with their growers on regenerative practices. In fact, their motto is “Soil is everything”
(Not sure about all those terms? Check out our article Organic wine – sustainability and beyond (plus recommendations and pairings)
You may have heard all about “Clean Wine” recently. Well, that term doesn’t really have any meaning. Bonterra has taken to calling their wines “Beyond Clean”. Here’s what they have to say.
“At Bonterra, we’d never dream of making you choose between clean, safe wine and delicious, award-winning taste. Since 1987, we’ve been leading the way with wines that deliver on uncompromising standards for quality and purity you can trust. What’s more, our regenerative farming and responsible practices bring you cleaner air, purer water and positive climate impact with every glass raised.
Why settle for clean when you can go beyond?” (https://www.bonterra.com/beyond-clean/)
Bonterra 2019 Merlot California
This California Merlot is made with organic grapes, from Mendocino County, the Central Coast and Lake County. Yes, this wine is labeled simply “California”. They note that “The 2019 vintage was characterized by a cooler growing season, punctuated by the occasional rain shower, which allowed the grapes to mature slowly and develop greater depth of flavor”
14.2% abv – $9.97 (Total Wine & More)
Savory herbal notes with black and red plum, a bit of eucalyptus, fresh cut cedar and other savory notes on the nose.
In my mouth, my first impression was a fresh ripe blackberry dipped lightly in very fine salt. Then red and black plum notes.
Casillero del Diablo
We wrote about the Reserve Carménère from this winery last November. Travel in a bottle to visit Chile and Celebrate Carménère Day with 2 Chilean Carménères!
Casillero del Diablo is owned by Concho y Toro and the name means “The Devil’s Cellar”. As the story goes, Don Melchor Concha y Toro had bottles keep disappearing from his best cellar. He started a rumor that the devil lived in his cellar to scare people and surprisingly, his wines stopped disappearing.
Casillero del Diablo 2019 Merlot Chile
This wine comes from Chile’s Central Valley region from hillsides on the coastal range with granitic subsoil.
13.5% abv – $8.49 (Total Wine & More)
Spice hit my nose first, then bright red fruit, red plum, cranberry. There was a light freshness of eucalyptus.
In my mouth I got black cherry, red plum and notes of vanilla.
We wanted to dive into a simple pairing that could easily be vegetarian or vegan. This recipe is mostly pulled from the pantry and is inexpensive and delicious. It also pairs beautifully with the wines.
Quinoa with blackbeans and vegetables. This recipe is easily updated for whatever you have on hand. The spices I chose specifically to pair with the wine, with cumin, ground coriander an dried oregano all flavors that pair well with Merlot.
Toast 1 cup of quinoa then cook according to the package directions. I used chicken stock to cook the quinoa, fortified with a teaspoon of “Better than bouillon” to fortify the flavor.
While that was cooking, I heated 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skilled over medium heat. I added 3 cloves of garlic, minced and warmed it until it was fragrant (about 2 minutes). I added 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, cracked black pepper, paprika, cumin, ground coriander, and dried oregano and stirred this around with the garlic until it was mixed in and the spices were fragrant.
Then I added 1 cup of diced red and orange pepper and 1 cup of diced zucchini. These continued to heat over medium for 3 minutes.
Then I added 1 can each of black beans and corn, both drained.
Heat this to warm then add the quinoa and stir.
Garnish with some thin pepper slices and fresh oregano.
We served this with a side salad of arugula with fresh blueberries and red plum and a berry dressing to pull out the fruit notes in the wine.
Find more great Merlots and pairings on Crushed Grape Chronicles
- Kicking off #MerlotMe with 2 Rutherford Hill Merlots and decadent burgers with chocolate!
- L’Ecole No. 41 2017 Merlot with Dinner and a Unique Dessert
- Merlot from 2 big-name companies, that are worth finding for different reasons
- Celebrating Merlot month with a Selby Merlot from sonoma County
- Merlot from elegant to badass. Time to #MerlotMe with #WinePW
Quinoa with black beans and vegetables
This simple dish is easy to adjust to whatever you have on hand. Quick and easy it pairs beautifully with a Merlot!
- 1 cup of quinoa toasted
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 1 tsp of Better Than Bouillon
- 2 tbs Olive Oil
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 cup of diced red pepper
- 1 cup of diced zucchini
- 1 15 oz can of black beans drained
- 1 15.25 oz can of corn drained
- Cook the toasted quinoa in 2 cups of chicken stock and a tsp of Better Than Bouillon. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes, then let it stand for 5 minutes
- While that is cooking heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat
- Add the minced garlic and heat until fragrant about 2 minutes
- Mix the salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, ground coriander, and dried oregano in a small bowl.
- Add the spices to the garlic and heat until fragrant about 2 minutes.
- Add the pepper and zucchini and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the drained beans and corn and cook to heat through.
- Add the cooked quinoa and stir.
- Serve garnished with thin slices of pepper and fresh oregano.
This recipe is so easy to adjust to whatever you have in the cupboard! You can add other fresh or canned vegetables, substitute vegetable stock or another stock, adjust the spices to suit your taste...it's really limitless.
Amount Per Serving Calories 291Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 2mgSodium 397mgCarbohydrates 46gFiber 10gSugar 7gProtein 13g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.
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