I Have Made Fire!
Hey, know all those times I mentioned a wine would make a great fire pit accompaniment? After a few weeks of working with my landscaper and a few minutes wrangling with a screwdriver, I can for the first time in a long time actually put my suggestions into practice!
Behold the Wiz Manor fire pit! I just lit it briefly to make sure everything was working okay — and for the ‘gram, naturally. It didn’t stay lit for long, but that’s OK. It was still in the 80s° F at 8:30pm on Thursday when these pics were taken! So it might be a while yet before I get to set things on fire, but I’m so pleased that I have something I can use, and direction for the area around it.
This calls for a celebration!
I tried to find something to evoke sitting around the fire, and I went with this special 2016 Damiani Wine Cellars Meritage. I bought this during my last trip to the Finger Lakes in May 2019. (Pre-everything obviously, but if you do go, I recommend the fall rather than May. It was wet and rainy and chilly, and not a peak time for tourists, so many places I wanted to visit were closed.) I stayed in a great AirBnb owned by a gentleman who also co-owns Damiani, and a complimentary wine tasting was included.
Damiani are doing some really great powerful reds, some of the best in the area. And this Meritage is no exception!
Meritage — rhymes with heritage, and not pronounced mer-i-tazhhh like I did till I realized I was a dope — is a term coined in the 1980s to better define red blends made with the traditional Bordeaux grapes. It’s trademarked, so you must apply to the Meritage Alliance to be able to use the name. You can have white Meritages, usually consisting of sauv blanc and sémillon, but red Meritages are most common. This 2016 vintage is made up of almost half cabernet sauvignon, 42% merlot, and 10% cab franc.
Because this was a special occasion, I broke out my fancy schmancy Riedel cabernet sauvignon glass, but any big straight-sided glass will serve you well. Big allows for an energetic swirl, and straight-sided so the aromas don’t smack you in the face. Serve a bit cool, around 60°F, to keep the flavors balanced.
It’s got a restrained nose, blackberry fruit on the palate, and an unbelievably beautiful velvety texture. After my wine had sat in the glass for about an hour, the sharpish finish I noted on first opening was gone. So do yourself a favor and decant this before serving. This wine cries out for some nice sausage, maybe even a venison dish if you’re feeling ambitious.
Johnny and I look forward to welcoming you to the fire pit, if and when the weather cooperates. Enjoy!