Culinary no-no #496


Personally, I would put it this way. I rarely drink…wine. My wife, Jennifer is the connoisseur.

So I put the question to her. What’s the proper wine to accompany Thanksgiving turkey? She didn’t hesitate with a response I truly wasn’t expecting.

“Red or white?”

That required another question. What red and what white do you suggest?

Pinot Noir if red, the old standby Chardonnay if white.

Thank you, Jennifer.

Now I’m no sommelier. When I learned recently that Merlot has been undergoing an inferiority complex I had to admit that clearly I had no idea. The bad reputation began when this movie was released in 2004.

Paul Giamatti’s character, Miles’ movie line was reported this way by the Sacaramento Bee:

“This seeing-red meltdown might be the second most famous movie line about wine (the top prize has to go to Hannibal Lecter and his Chianti).”

The newspaper did an analysis on Merlot’s demise 10 years after “Sideways.”

Miles’ anti-merlot rant seemed to cause ripples in the wine marketplace, a phenomenon studied in a 2008 paper called “The Sideways Effect: A Test for Changes in the Demand for Merlot and Pinot Noir Wines.” This research team was headed by Steven Cuellar, an economics professor at Sonoma State University.

The study found that national grocery store sales of merlot fell 1.4 percent each year after 2005, though its decline had been underway for a few years prior. Meanwhile, sales for Miles’ preferred pinot noir skyrocketed in the months after the movie’s 2004 release, to the tune of a 16 percent sales spike, according to an A.C. Nielsen analysis.

Back in 2005, merlot accounted for 22 million cases in yearly domestic shipments, according to research from Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates, a Bay Area-based wine consulting firm. Pinot noir’s numbers were just a fraction of merlot’s, with 4.7 million cases shipped.

Fast forward to 2013. Pinot noir’s numbers had risen to 11.5 million cases, while merlot’s slipped to 19 million.

That begs the following.

If you’re a guest Thursday do you refrain from taking Merlot to give to the host?

If you’re a host is Merlot absolutely verboten?

If you’re a guest and Merlot is served do you get up and leave?



And no.

Charles Passy of the Wall Street Journal recommends this Merlot for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Still anti-Merlot?

Can’t go wrong with a sparkling wine.

Can’t believe I did a Merlot Culinary no-no. Time to remove my schnozzola from the ceiling.


I don’t believe in boycotts, but I’m thinking no more Penzeys

How to survive a post-election meltdown Thanksgiving

Does a (Thanksgiving) guest have the right to determine what we serve, based on her own conscience? Scroll down to the final question in this column for this Thanksgiving dilemma resolution.

One thought on “Culinary no-no #496

  1. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (11/28/16) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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