Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Can there be white Meritages?
—Thomas K., Northbrook, Ill.
Yes. “Meritage” (which rhymes with “heritage,” by the way, rather than being pronounced with a French accent) is a trademarked name for registered American wines that are blended from Bordeaux grape varieties, and these Meritage wines can be either red or white.
White Meritage wines are based on Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle. To qualify, a white must be a blend of at least two of these grapes, with no one grape making up more than 90 percent of the blend, and it can’t include any other grape variety. The rules for a red Meritage are basically the same, but include the grape varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot and the rarer St.-Macaire, Gros Verdot and Carmenère.