Cambridge Napa Valley Meritage (4)

Cambridge Napa Valley Meritage 4-Pack
$59.99 $115.96 48% off List Price
2012 Cambridge Napa Valley Meritage
CT link above

Winery website

From the specs:
Blend: 87% Merlot, 2% Cab Franc, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon

Doesn’t quite add up!

Why is this a meritage and not a merlot?

Its a merlot with some other stuff in it that someone decided to label a meritage. Happy?

12% Cab Franc

For what its worth

2012 Cambridge Napa Valley Meritage
In Stock
/ 750ml
/ Case of 12

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Wine Profile
Tasting Notes
This Meritage is a rich brick color with a garnet core. You’ll find hints of juicy candied cherry, scraped vanilla bean pod and black raspberry on the nose. Aging in a blend of American and French oak barrels adds spicy notes. Raspberry, chocolate and pomegranate splash across the palate. This is an age-worthy vintage without compare.
Winemaker Notes
Bruce & Kim Cunningham relocated to Novato, California in 2004. Aussie born, these two have been intertwined with California’s wine industry for 20+ years. This 100% Napa Valley wine is bold and structured and was crafted in a Bordeaux style with a new world approach. A dry mouthfeel and concentrated fruit show signs that this wine will further develop over the next 5 to 10 years.
Varietal Notes
Meritage is the name given to red and white wines made in America from a blend of the classic Bordeaux wine-grape varieties. In most New World countries today, the general rule of thumb is that wines are labeled according to the grape variety that comprises at least 75% of that wine. A label with “Cabernet Sauvignon,” for example, would mean that the wine is made from a minimum of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Many winemakers, however, believe the varietal requirements do not necessarily always result in the highest quality wine. The term “Meritage” was invented (combining “merit” and “heritage” to reflect both the quality of the grapes and the ancient art of blending wine) to identify wines that represent the highest form of the winemaker’s art - blending - and distinguish these wines from the more generic moniker, “table wine.”
Food Pairing Notes
A blend of 87% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, this delight is a perfect complement to bold, zesty Italian ragout and grilled fennel Italian sausage.

Napa Valley
Vineyard Designation
Cambridge Cellars
3-4 years
Bottling Date
Alcohol %


“The Meritage Association was formed in 1988 by a small group of Napa Valley, California vintners increasingly frustrated by U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives regulations stipulating wines contain at least 75% of a specific grape to be labeled as that varietal. As interest grew in creating Bordeaux-style wines, which by their blended nature fail to qualify for varietal status, members sought to create a recognizable name for their high-quality blended wines.”

Edited. Thanks for the heads up guys :slight_smile:

What I find fascinating about Meritage (a combination of merit + heritage) is that the association that started it launched a contest to come up with a name. 6000 people entered and the winner gets two bottles of the first ten vintages of all the wineries that pay to join the association.

So with over 350 members currently in the Association, the lucky guy who dreamed up “meritage” is enjoying two bottles of wine a day this year! Can you say “hic!”?

Because nobody has ever said “I am not drinking any fucking Meritage!

A bottle of this made its way to the recent Seattle gathering for ratting. This was the second of three similar red blends, two of which were labeled as Meritage. None of the others have yet appeared on woot. Forthwith my notes:

Initial pour showed good clarity and some legs. Nose was more subdued. Aroma was more subdued than the immediately preceding Meritage. However on tasting this was for more complex, with a more deeply structured taste profile and significant tannin.

My next pour was done through a Vinturi. I gave it a few minutes to settle down after the pour. The Vinturi helped considerably. The fruit notes were much stronger. More tannin presence of more detectable heat and bite. The overall flavor profile was stronger, moved more fully in the mouth and persisted longer. It really popped with some goat cheese that we had for snacking.

I found this one really growing on me; I found myself reaching for it repeatedly for added sips. Ultimately it proved to be my favorite of the three bottles we were able to get ratted, and I was disappointed when it was gone.

This showed up on a table, along with many other bottles, at a recent SoCal gathering and was my forth to taste following a chard and a couple PN’s.

Clear, deep red-garnet in color. Rather aromatic of bright red and some dark fruits that follow to the palate. Dry, full-bodied and crisp, with medium dry tannins suggesting some new cooperage. Quite approachable with a lingering finish, that early on showed a touch of bitterness, but dissipated as it aired out over the evening.

I like both Cab Franc and Merlot, so this, despite rather new-world in style, was in a good place for me and easily one of the better bottles presented for tasting.

Noted a good value if ~$15.


Thanks for the reports guys seems like a nice wine at a good price.

What’s up with the color block and the shield?

Did I miss something?

PS – if it’s over 75% Merlot, it’s not a true Meritage. However, it’s a voluntary designation, so …

Read all about it!

Is that like the other laughable falsehood I heard this weekend - that all “true” dessert wines are fortified?

A bottle of this found its way to the SoCal gathering, as Ron mentioned. I don’t think I’d have guessed this one was predominantly Merlot, but doesn’t matter to me since it’s all about the final blend. This was significantly softer on the palate than I expected, with a bit of oak spice and some white pepper on the nose. I also thought it was a nice middle of the road wine, with medium tannin and a well balanced structure. This would likely please most everybody, although doubtful anybody would call it out as an amazing wine. I think this one will also do well with a bit of air or time in bottle. 2012 is still pretty young.

Also agreed with Ron that it’s a fair to good value at $15.

I’d call this a good value at $15. I think it needs at least a year to come together. Nice wine, good structure, nothing mind-blowing, but at $15/btl, a solid purchase I think.

I think that this wine is better than the majority of random-grab $15 grocery store wines. If you’re looking for something along these lines, buy it.

For general discussion concerning naming a wine meritage.

For cases like this, do you think naming a wine meritage rather than a Merlot gives it a different audience or will change people’s impressions of what the wine is? I’m curious as to what winery’s are trying to achieve when using this label especially when it could be labeled as a single varietal.