Merlot, 2017. Fortant

Merlot, 2017. Fortant

Item #: V1020R1IF
Vintage: 2017
Varietal: Merlot
Vineyard/Appellation: Languedoc, France
Color: Very Deep Purple
Nose: Plum, Lilac
Palate: Gripping Berry
Finish: Medium Tannins
Rating: 98
Cellaring/Serving Suggestions: Now thru 2023/ Red Meat, Fowl, Game/11-14% Alcohol by Volume

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Fortant comes from the Skalli Empire founded in Algeria 100 years ago. Its maker, Robert Skalli, emigrated to Southern France because the climate was similar to Algeria and the country was friendlier. As the Languedoc became the family settling ground, every generation of Skalli expanded their reach into other countries, including California where they own one of Napa's finest wineries, St. Supery.

Fortant translates to "grand terroir" and the Skalli family is a crucial part of this making. In 1974, the Languedoc was thought of as anything but "grand" but Robert Skalli, grandson of the founder, was bent on changing that. Along the way he enlisted other growers to upgrade their vineyards and winemaking. They showed a united front and succeeded incredibly well.

In 2011, the Skalli empire merged with another wine empire and the largest landholder in Burgundy, the Boisset family. Their combined reach and resources have allowed them to quickly expand, while also setting the standard for quality in the Languedoc that other producers needed to follow. Naturally, prices went up, but they were already so low that most didn't mind, as the wines were so much better that they were still considered a bargain.

Our Merlot certainly fits that bill. Grown on rugged mountain slopes with as much rocks as soil, the vines struggled to find water, but in so doing, created a stronger branch system to send nutrients to the grapes. All this accounts for the plum and cranberry flavors to match nicely with turkey carnitas or pork loin in a mustard sauce.