Kim and I are the CeCe Caldwell’s Distributors for California, Utah, Nevada and Colorado. We are fortunate enough to live in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area, and not far from the beautiful Napa Valley. The Merlot Grapes that grow in abundance in the Napa Valley inspired this week’s Mixology Monday.
To make Napa Merlot, we blended 3 parts Jersey Tomato, 3 parts New Orleans Purple and 1 part Blue Montana Sky. (You can add more or less of the Blue Montana Sky to achieve the desired darkness or lightness).
Napa Valley is one of the most abundant areas in the world for wine grape growing. Wild grapes grew in abundance in early Napa Valley, but it wasn’t until settler George Calvert Yount tapped the area’s potential for cultivating wine grapes. Yount built one of the homesteads in the area and was the first to plant Napa Valley Grapes in 1839. It didn’t take long for other grape-growing pioneers to follow and the Napa Valley began to establish itself as a wine region.
This tremendous expansion, however, was soon brought to a halt. By the turn of the 20th century, the wine industry saw prices plummet amidst a sea of surplus grapes. Next came the arrival of Phyloxera, a blight that destroyed 80% of the valley’s vineyard acreage. Following on the heels of the blight came Prohibition in 1920. With the enactment of Prohibition, many vineyards and wineries were simply abandoned over the next 14 years, with only a handful of wineries continuing to operate by producing sacramental wines.
With the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, Napa Valley’s wine industry began a slow recovery. During this time, great wine makers such as John Daniel Jr., resurrected one of the Giants of the Napa Valley, Inglenook. Georges de Latour re-established the beautiful Beaulieu Vineyards (BV), and Louis M. Martini built his famous winery, and the Mondavi family purchased the Charles Krug Winery.
Today, there are so many beautiful and inspiring colors of grapes grown in the Napa Valley region. As the grapes grow into maturity, there are as many hues of reds and burgundies as there are varieties of grapes. We especially love the deep red- blue color of the Merlot Grape when it is ready for harvesting.
Merlot is a bit of a California original in that it became a stand-alone wine in itself. Merlot has been a fixture of the Napa Valley since the 1970’s, but it was used as a blending partner to add body and a soft fruity flavor the more structured and tannic Cabernet Sauvignon. It didn’t take long for vintners to realize their Merlot Grapes stood on their own to create a beautiful wine. By the 1990’s, Merlot grapes were leading in the popularity of the red varietals being grown.
Kim and I like to think of Napa Merlot as a lovely symbol of each of us. Karen is a California Native, with deep roots in the Bay Area. Kim is a California transplant via New York. Together we have created this beautiful burgundy color that we feel represents one of the most picturesque and color filled regions of our beautiful state.
Napa Merlot is 3 parts Jersey Tomato: 3 parts New Orleans Purple: 1 part Blue Montana Sky