Father knows best: A Meritage without merit
by Geordie Clarke
While shopping in the unhelpful minefield that is the typical B.C. Liquor Store, I unwittingly walked out with a wine that, had I been of sane mind and acted with pragmatism in my buying strategy, would never have come home with me.
But lacking facts and relying on advice offered to me by store employee whom I now have determined knows no more about wine than I do internal medicine, I took the plunge and ignored those initial reservations that had bubbled in the back of my mind when I first spotted it on the shelf.
It wasn’t long before I realised I had made a terrible mistake. This was a wine that ticked all the wrong boxes.
Let’s take a look at what was wrong with this particular wine:
Virtually unknown winery? Check.
Arbitrary use of the word ‘reserve’? Check.
Silly name? Check.
Unforgivable critter label? Double check.
And so here I am, two days later, staring at a still-not-yet-finished bottle bearing memories of a couple nights before, which, it has to be said, consist mainly of my recoiling at its rough flavours and remorse over the money wasted.
The wine in question is Red Rooster Meritage Reserve 2010. I have no idea what makes it a reserve other than the fact it seems to have been reserved for fools like me, but that is only a guess.
For its price, at about $24 Canadian, it is a blasphemy, no more enjoyable than the wine my father selected, a $9.99 Californian Cabernet sporting a carefree pair of flip flops on its label. There was no question he liked his volume-produced plonk more than mine given his attitude toward wine is one of indifference as long as it doesn’t burn his throat as it does down the hatch. But the worrying indictment here is that I preferred his wine to mine as well.
For those keeping track of the score in the game of life and wine buying, it is: Father 1, Geordie 0.
This is one of those wines for which Miles in Sideways said “there better not be any fucking merlot” even if two-thirds of its contents are other grape varieties. It has a sharp smell of red fruits, but also a nose-burning chemical odour reminiscent of those cheap grape juices we were forced to drink at school when we were kids.
In the mouth I can only describe this wine as regretful. Thin, watery, all over the place but nowhere specific. They say it “overflows with aromas and flavours of red and black fruits balanced by vibrant acidity.” But if it were balanced I would not be staring at a partially consumed bottle that no one in this house wants to finish off — at least no one who is sober.