Beatitudes of my life

Being grateful for everything in my life…. no matter what…

“Meritage” does NOT rhyme with “garage”… and here’s the proof. October 31, 2013

Filed under: Communication,VA Wine,Wine — beatitudesofmylife @ 7:39 am
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One of my biggest pet-peeves in the wine industry is the way some people pronounce the word “Meritage”. With permission, I am posting an explanation that was crafted by my Assistant General Manager at James River Cellars (Alexander Morgan) for distribution to the staff and volunteers of our winery. Since nowhere near enough people had the opportunity to read this information, I wanted to extend its reach… I hope you take this to heart and share it with as many people as possible. Together, we can make things right… right?
∞ alison

This is a long time coming, but I just heard the most outlandish justification for why “mer-i-taaaaaaaahge” is most DEFINITELY a French term (it’s not), so I called, read, and googled all kinds of sources, and here you go – proof:

Meritage – “MEHR-i-tidj” or “Summation”

Open Scene — It’s 1988, and a group of CALIFORNIAN winemakers, specifically from Napa Valley, are having trouble with their local ABC and ATF enforcement laws (shocking) concerning the official blend % of a wine in order to print said wine on the label.

Example – if a wine is only 60% Merlot juice, can the label state “Merlot?”

No – the law then, and still today, states that at LEAST 75% of any given wine, red or white, must be of the specific grape, in order to print it on the label.

Example – the wine MUST be a volume of >/= 75% Merlot to print “Winery’s 2013 Merlot”

So, a wine can be … 80% Merlot, with 20% …say, Cabernet Franc (or even 10 other wines at small %), and legally still be labeled as “Merlot”

These winemakers decided to take action and exploit loopholes in the law, in order to showcase the rising appeal of blending, much like the Europeans did. The most proficient blending region in Europe? Bordeaux, France.

So, a contest was held. Over 6000 entries answered the call for a collective term that could be used to describe BORDEAUX-style BLENDS, which were made OUTSIDE of Bordeaux.

One participant suggested combining the very-American terms “merit” and “heritage,” to reference the quality, resiliency, and history of winemaking.

“Meri-“ + “-tage” = “Meritage”
Remember, think “herit-I-ge Merit-I-ge”

And thus, the “Meritage Association of CALIFORNIA” was coined and founded. In 2007, the name was changed to the “Meritage Alliance.”

A Meritage MUST be:
1) a blend of at least 2 or more Bordeaux grape varietals, within no varietal comprising 90% or more of the blend
2) the participating winery’s highest quality wine juice
3) produced and bottled by a U.S. winery, using U.S. grapes
4) limited to a 25,000 case production, per vintage year

A Meritage must be ALL-INCLUSIVE of the following grapes. If blended with even 0.01% of any juice from an outside source, the wine cannot be labeled as “Meritage.”

Official red Bordeaux varietals: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Malbec

Unofficial red Bordeaux varietals: Carménère, Gros Verdot (no relation to Petit Verdot),and St. Macaire

Official white Bordeaux varietals: Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillion, and Muscadelle

Unofficial white Bordeaux varietals: Sauvignon Gris, Ugni Blanc (French term for Trebbiano, and parent to Vidal Blanc), Colombard, Merlot Blanc, Ondenc, and Mauzac.

Bordeaux’ regions: Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Médoc, and Graves

The five ELITE Bordeaux wineries are:
Chateau Lafite-Rothschild (Médoc),

Chateau Margaux (Médoc),

Chateau Latour (Médoc),

Chateau Haut-Brion (Graves), and

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild (Médoc)

Other Bordeaux’ wines you may have already drank: Sauternes (Graves)

Outside of the United States, the term “Claret” or “Clairet” is used to describe a Bordeaux-style wine that was created outside of Bordeaux

The Meritage Alliance website –

There — proof that not only “Meritage” is an American creation, but also that it indicatively CANNOT be a French term (see stipulation #3 above)


Creating a Recipe for a contest… Divine Triple Chocolate Port Wine Cookies October 13, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — beatitudesofmylife @ 2:06 pm

This is my favorite recipe to keep in the fridge to share with friends at a moment’s notice… hope you’ll enjoy it!

From the Bottom of a Wine Bottle

The people who make Fonseca Bin #27 offered up a challenge and I just couldn’t resist.  After all, I’ve been using red wine (alternating between a dry red from James River Cellars Winery OR Fonseca Bin #27 Port wine) in my “standard” chocolate chip cookie recipe for the past 15 years or so… why not write the actual directions down and see if people like it, right?TripleChocolatePortWineCookies

I decided to call the recipe:  Divine Triple Chocolate Port Wine Cookies.  I use chocolate chips in three different sizes and degrees of sweetness, then included Port Wine and a few other “choice” ingredients.  I am deviating from my traditional way of using The Force when I cook and have provided actual directions for this recipe.  It was tough, but I just had to try it.  While my recipe may seem a bit unorthodox, my family and friends seem to find…

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I am… October 2, 2013

Filed under: Blessings,Family,Life Balance — beatitudesofmylife @ 10:27 am
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I’ve begun using hairbands lately, which in and of itself isn’t a big thing, but when I got a bag of them in the mail recently I found the following bands included that said “I AM HAPPINESS”, “I AM PEACE”, “I AM BEAUTIFUL” and “I AM GRATEFUL”.  These really struck me as significant and I wanted to expound upon that thought on my blog.


I AM HAPPINESS – this statement truly speaks to my life.  I do believe that we can all create our own happiness and do it in a way that touches all aspects of our lives.  To be able to be happiness is, in my mind, to see everything through rose-colored glasses… to see the good in people… to look for the silver lining in any clouds.  It’s the personification of that “Happy Yellow Lab” mentality that can make even a lousy day seem better, if only for having the opportunity to live it.  Can *you* be happiness in your own life?

I AM PEACE – I have to admit that I struggle a bit with this thought.  I truly do believe that we *all* should strive for peace within our own lives, but am I truly living the premise that “I am peace”?  Bypassing all the peace/love/hippie stuff, are we each doing what we can to promote peace in the world?  I don’t think it’s enough to simply say that I want peace… it’s not that I’m suggesting we each go out and preach peace to the world.  I’m suggesting that we put a peace-filled filter on what we put out in the world… occasional venting is all well and good, but if we continually spew venom on social media outlets, do we really expect to find anything other then venom returned to us?  In this day of posting every little thought that comes into our brains, wouldn’t it be helpful to filter those words and focus more on how to promote peace?  That’s certainly going to be *my* focus going forward.

I AM BEAUTIFUL – This statement is another one that’s rather difficult for me.  While I don’t believe that I’m wholly unattractive, I also have a hard time saying the words “I am beautiful”.   I always believed that voicing those words meant that I was self-centered and stuck-up… but shouldn’t we be teaching our children that we ALL are beautiful?  We each are beautiful… created in God’s image… and personal ownership of those words should be something to which we all strive.  Not that I’m saying I’m going to walk about telling people that I am beautiful, but I will keep this reminder in the back of my mind as I approach the world.  I *am* beautiful and I am worth it…  cue the Stuart Smalley SNL Skit “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me!”

I AM GRATEFUL – This statement is part of my everyday life.  Anytime I find myself alone… in the car, at work, at home… I remember just how blessed I am and just how blessed my life is and has been and I say “thank you”.  I work hard to show appreciation to those who go out of their way to do kind things for me.  I make sure to acknowledge any kindness that I see.  As in the focus of this blog, I want to address the joys and blessings in my life… showing gratitude and appreciation for all that I have been given is simply a branch off that same tree.  I *AM* grateful… for everything and everyone in my life.

If you have a moment… try doing this exercise for yourself.  You might just find that your life is pretty darn awesome…


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