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Merlot? More like Mer-love! at Sbragia

wine, lounge, tasting, merlot, cabernet, chardonnay
Tasting Lounge in downtown Sonoma!

Hii it's me again! I found out today that its International Merlot Month (thanks @sonomabound, check out her insta!) Since we're already halfway through the month, I knew I could not waste one more moment- I NEEDED some merlot! Now merlot gets a bad rap, mostly due to the movie "Sideways", where Paul Giamatti's character famously poo-poos Merlot, saying "If anyone orders merlot I am leaving. I am not drinking fucking merlot". This movie came out in 2004, and strongly influenced the public's taste for merlot. Many merlot vineyards were ripped out and replanted with pinot as a result of this film! Sad! So I am doing my part to spread the good word on this underappreciated wine, and you should too!


The timing was right, because one of my favorite merlot producers, Sbragia, just opened a tasting lounge in downtown Sonoma. Now I can get my Dry Creek fix without leaving town! Thank you Sbragia! And their place is cute too, very comfortable and homey. They do a vinyl happy hour Monday through Thursday from 5-6pm, with $5 glasses of wine and oh yeah! you can bring your own records to play! You should go! Say hi to Erin for me!

wine, tasting, lounge
Cute right?


2015 Home Ranch Merlot

This wine is 95% Merlot and 5% Petite Syrah, and I think that yes, that 5% of Petite Syrah really makes a difference! Bright cherry nose with a hint of clay, and great tannic structure that isn't too dry- this wine tastes like a gorgeous day in Dry Creek valley. I love how the winemaker Adam Sbragia treated this wine- sometimes merlot can hit me with overripe fruit and leave me just as quickly, but that is not the case here. Very delicious from start to finish.

I'm pairing this wine with a Smokehouse Burger- a smokey bacon burger patty that you can get from Sonoma County Meat Company in Santa Rosa. Seriously, go. If you can't go, here is my at home version:

Makes 3 burgers

1 pound beef chuck, cubed

1/2 pound bacon ends/lardons

Buns, toppings and condiments

1. Using a meat grinder, grind beef and bacon. Alternate between chunks of beef and bacon to help mix the flavors.

2. Divide meat mixture into three equal sized balls, about 6 ounces each.

3. Shape into patty. Make a thumbprint in the middle of each to keep patty from puffing up in the middle.

4. Heat a grill or skillet over medium heat. Cook patties about 3 minutes per side, or until browned and done to your liking.

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