Merryvale and Fondue with my Valentine


Valentine’s Day is a wonderful holiday for showing your significant other how much you care, however, the oversaturation of public marriage proposals, TV weddings, and over-the-top gifts are turning me sour. We’ve had enough of dinner reservations made far in advance, harried servers waiting on the masses, and “special” menus that are over-priced and underachieve. What better time to splurge on an expensive wine and share a candlelit dinner with your immortal beloved at home.

Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 is our wine of choice for Valentine’s Day this year. We have some history with Merryvale beginning with the marriage of my husband’s brother in their spectacular historic Cask Room at the winery in St. Helena. We enjoyed the wine again as part of our Sinatra night in Manhattan during dinner at Patsy’s. Valentine’s Day provides the perfect quiet setting to delve into all of the nuances that Merryvale Cab has to offer.

This wine is robust but not bombastic like some of the Cab fruit bombs we’ve tasted from California. It surges with cherries, currants, and graphite. It finishes with velvety smooth tannins and rich dark chocolate. A well-made wine like Merryvale is a jazz performance in a glass. Intricate melodies hover over a complex chord structure, supported by the grove of the rhythm section.

We enjoy the Melting Pot restaurant but with the right equipment, fondue is fairly easy to do at home. When we’re eating out, it’s fun to partake of all three fondue courses; cheese, entrée, and chocolate, but for the sake of our waistlines, we’ll just prepare the entrée. The fondue pot is filled with a quart of Rachel Ray’s beef stock and a cup of sherry. When the stock begins to boil we add mushrooms and small red potatoes. A slotted spoon is handy to retrieve them when they’re done. Using the fondue forks, we cook shrimp, chicken, beef and cocktail franks. My husband, the Master of Sauces, has whipped up Green Goddess, port gorgonzola, Asian ginger, and Bang Bang for dipping. We find the special fondue plates to be essential for organizing the foodstuffs and sauces and preventing a wet mess.

Great wine + fondue = delicious, romantic Valentine’s Day celebration!


Published by J Reilly

Boozy Lifestyle: Elevate The Everyday With Booze As Your Muse by Julia Stacey Reilly is available on Follow J Reilly @boozy_lifestyle on Twitter and Instagram.

2 thoughts on “Merryvale and Fondue with my Valentine

  1. this looks excellent! Always been a fan of Merryvale. The 09 was incredibly balanced. There were only a few hot days over 100 degrees in Napa Valley that year, so they obviously went for a less “over-the-top” style to maintain the purity of the fruit, which during a steadily dry year like 09 made for a real lush wine. (a lot of wineries really over did it to push rating up, and made their wines almost undrinkable with food). Sounds like a great night of great food and wine!


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