• Merlot Musings

    I love Merlot.  It’s smooth, soft, and supple.  It’s a staple in Bordeaux, one of the most popular wine regions in the entire world.  Across the globe, winemakers use it to complement the aggressive tannins in varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon.  But for some reason, the mass market seems to eschew bottles that specifically say “Merlot” on the label.

    At this point, I’m sure many of you have heard of the movie Sideways, which many blame for Merlot’s downfall.  In the movie, the character Miles famously exclaims, “If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am not drinking any [expletive] Merlot!”  Entire studies and articles have been written about the implications of this single line in the film.  Conclusion: not good.  I’m not exactly sure why anyone took Miles’s advice as fact.  He was specifically designed to be flawed; a character unhappy in his own skin trying to find meaning in wine country.  I’m also not exactly sure why we’re still treating a movie that’s almost 20 years old as gospel.  Sideways debuted in 2004.

    Why am I bringing this all up now?  First, I just brought one of my favorite Merlots back to Wine on Main.  Margarett’s Merlot is made in California by the McNab family, the same people who make the McNab Cabernet Sauvignon that many of you know and love.  The whole operation is family-run and pretty small.  They make about 2,000 cases of Margarett’s Merlot, which is on the smaller side when it comes to wine production.  The wine has aromas and flavors of ripe black cherries, plums, and soft mocha followed by toasty oak and undertones of baking spices.  Did I mention it’s only $16.99?  It’s moving reasonably well, but for how good it is I would expect it to fly out of here by the case!  I really hope that people put their Merlot bias to the side and try it.  Justice for Merlot!

    Second, I tried a really awesome Merlot the other day from Schild Estate.  If that sounds familiar, it’s because we carry their Shiraz.  They are another family-owned vineyard passed down through generations located in Australia’s Barossa Valley.  It had bold flavors of cherry and raspberry as well as vanilla bean and clove spice.  The body was lush and full.  As much as I enjoyed it and wanted it (or want it? Still pondering….) to sell at Wine on Main, I couldn’t help but wonder: “Will customers really go for an Australian Merlot?  Is the Sideways curse real?”  Let me know your thoughts!

  • New Year, New Wines!

    January is a strange time in the world of wine.  On the one hand, the hustle and bustle of the holidays has died down.  In terms of foot traffic and sales, things seem a little quiet.  On the other hand, it’s incredibly busy!  There’s much to plan, from events to new wines.  My current daily planner only goes until June, so I’ll need to buy a new one soon enough.

    Wine on Main has approximately 140 facings.  It’s not the smallest wine set, but it’s far from the largest.  As a result, every single wine that we sell has to be the best of the best.  It has to represent its region and check every box.  Additionally, the pressure’s on to keep things fun and fresh.  I’ll hang onto the wines that you love- I don’t need a mutiny to kick off 2023.  However, as much as I’m attached to a wine, it’s important that I rotate in new items that are equally as good to keep things new and interesting.

    I also like to re-evaluate wines based on your feedback.  If you mention a region or varietal that I don’t have in store, I do my best to find it.  For example, someone mentioned South African Chenin Blanc recently, so I’ve made it a point to track down a great one for our World section.

    To those ends, I’ve been busy tasting new wines to add to the selection… and I’ve found some real winners!  Today, I tasted 20 (!!!) wines with 2 wine brokers.  (This is why spitting is necessary, regardless of how unbecoming it may seem).  Of those, I discovered 5 that I really enjoy.  3 will be arriving tomorrow, or first thing next week at the latest.

    Here is a sneak peek:

    Kumusha Chenin Blanc, South Africa– Remember the Chenin Blanc I was talking about?  Well this is a fabulous one from South Africa.  Born and raised in Zimbabwe, winemaker Tinashe Nyumudoka moved to South Africa for better economic prospects. Without any prior experience, his journey took him from waiter to head sommelier of Africa’s most lauded restaurant, The Test Kitchen, and also respected wine judge on international competitions.  Kumusha translates to “your roots.”  Clean, crisp, and dry, this wine has flavors of pear, citrus, and melon with hints of minerality.

    Ravines Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes- As a Cornell grad, it’s no secret that I’m partial to the Finger Lakes.  Those were some of my very first wine tastings and helped usher me into wine.  I love Cabernet Franc in general, but especially from the Finger Lakes.  Cool climate Cabernet Franc is a light ruby red in the glass and elegant and restrained on the palate.

    Ruelas Vinho Tinto Reserve, Portugal- This is a bold blend of Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional- as well as a touch of Syrah for extra backbone!  The wine has dark fruit flavors like blackberry, plum, and a touch of black pepper.  It’s a great wine for winter when you want something powerful and flavorful.  It’s incredibly affordable too.

    I can’t wait for you to try these and more will be coming in soon!

  • Top Wines of 2022

    It’s hard to believe that the New Year is right around the corner!  What a year 2022 has been.  Thank you all for welcoming me to Wine on Main.

    As 2023 approaches, I’ve been thinking about more fun things that I can implement here at the store in the New Year.  We already have a number of great events planned in January and February including a book club with an author zoom, wine classes, and a Valentine’s Day event to be announced.  I also thought that it would be exciting to start a blog.  There’s a great deal that goes on behind-the-scenes at Wine on Main before wines make it to the shelves.  The wine industry is multi-faceted, and I’ve had the opportunity to see it from many angles.  I thought it might be interesting to share more of it with all of you.

    This will be an enjoyable exercise for me as well.  As an English major and former high school English teacher, writing has always been in my DNA.  My first true professional foray into the wine industry was serving as Wine Correspondent for a regional website.  I covered major events like wine festivals, interviewed key people in the wine industry, and described new bottles I’d found.  It will be entertaining for me to revisit those roots.

    For my first post, I thought it would be apropos to look back at some of the most interesting wines I’ve come across over the past two months.  One of the joys in owning my own shop has come from seeing more of the wine that’s out there as opposed to focusing on one specific distributor portfolio.  This a particularly interesting time in the wine world as well as more esoteric wine styles like orange wine, natural wine, and organic wines come to the forefront.


    Pullus Pinot Grigio, Slovenia

    Pinot Grigio is one of the most popular white varietals.  Easy-drinking, light, and fruity, it’s certainly a crowd-pleaser.  What some people don’t know is that Pinot Grigio can be made in a “ramato” style.  “Ramato” translates into copper in Italian.  Pinot Grigio Ramato is so named because thanks to a little bit of skin contact, it takes on a light copper color in the glass.  It adds to the wine’s flavor and complexity while still maintaining the essence of Pinot Grigio.

    The Ramato style originated in the Fruili region of Italy and most of them herald from there.  Pullus is an especially unique find because it comes from Slovenia.  Though winemaking in Slovenia dates back well before the Romans, Slovenian wine is just starting to emerge in popularity for the market at large.  I find this wine exceptionally elegant and balanced.  Fresh and fruit forward, it is supplemented by beautiful structure that is enhanced from the skin contact.  There are aromas of pear, stone fruit, and nectarine with hints of white florals as well.


    Txakoli Primo Zarautz, Spain

    Txakoli isn’t a wine that you see a lot of, and I’ve been excited to see how many of you have embraced this wine!  Made in Spain’s Basque region, the wine has green fruit flavors and a great deal of delicious minerality.  The wine is dry but has a hint of natural effervescence.  Its composition makes it wonderful on its own but also ideal for food pairing.  The crisp acidity cuts through fattier fare like cheese while its dry style prevents it from overwhelming dishes.


    Dampt Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France

    I LOVE Burgundy.  A self-professed Chardonnay lover, I have great admiration for this region which makes some of the finest Chardonnays.  Burgundy excels in Pinot Noir as well.  While California tends to make big, juicy Pinot Noirs, Burgundy producers err on the side of restraint.  The results are delicate, smooth Pinot Noirs with ripe red fruit flavors underscored with hints of earth.

    Unfortunately, with that prestige usually comes a hefty price tag.  Imagine my delight when I found a beautiful Burgundian Pinot Noir that could retail for $21.99!  Dampt Freres is a family-owned endeavor that is run by three brothers, Emmanuel, Eric, and Herve.  Their Bourgogne Pinot Noir is silky smooth with flavors of cherry, raspberry, and hints of earth.


    Schild Estate Sparkling Shiraz, Australia

    You’ve probably heard me go on and on about this wine already… but really, it’s so cool!  Before coming to Wine on Main, I’d never encountered a sparkling Shiraz before.  Ruby red in the glass, the wine has aromas of blackcurrant, blackberry, and dark cherry alongside more delicate hints of chocolate and spice.  Like a regular Shiraz, the wine is made in a dry style.  It is your favorite red wine… but with bubbles!

    As an added bonus, Schild Estate is a great producer.  Located in the heart of the Barossa Valley, one of Australia’s top regions for Shiraz, they are passionate about making estate-grown wines that embody the terroir of the region.


    For more information about any of these wines, email us at info@wineonmainnh.com.