Paul has been bantering online about the value of using the term Meritage on a label. He came up with Monkey Butt Cuvee as an alternative and we had a few good laughs over it.
At least Monkey Butt can be pronounced and there is no wondering what it means. It's not a great example, but what does Meritage mean?
Nevermind what it means, if you don't know, it's not a big deal and you are not alone. I don't like it for one reason and one reason only, it alienates a good portion of the wine-buying population and makes wine that much scarier to the uninitiated.
Wine is a beautiful accompaniment to food, on it's own, for every day consumption, or for special occasions. You can make it a big deal or it can be casual. You can buy all the accessories, the fancy stemware, sexy openers, and blown glass decanters, or you can unscrew the top of your favorite bottle and pour it into just about any vessel to imbibe.
Whatever you choose, the one thing that wine should not do is confound, confuse, or intimidate you. It is my opinion that the word Meritage does those things.
The most valuable lesson I learned in a public speaking course was "know your audience" and so I'm not going to overly criticize those wineries that use Meritage on their labels, because they are speaking to their audience.
At Stefania Wine, we will not label any of our red blends as Meritage, but do watch for a version of Haut Tubee Monkey Butt Cuvee, or maybe MBC since I bet TTB has a field day with "Butt" on the label...