is a word used to distinguish wines that are made in the style of Bordeaux
but without infringing on that region's legally protected appellation
. The result of a contest to coin a new word that would serve as its own brand rather than trading on a European place name, it is a combination of "merit" and "heritage," and is pronounced to rhyme with the latter word. Without a brand name like Meritage, a wine would have to be labeled "Red Table Wine" or given a proprietary name unique to the winery. While it is most common in the U.S., Meritage can be used to describe wine made all over the world.
Red wine from Bordeaux is made with certain grape varieties, principally Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, andMalbec. A red Meritage is made from at least two of these grapes, and typically would not be permitted to be sold as a varietal wine since it can contain no more than 90% of any one grape. Wines labeled "Meritage" must also be the best wine of their type sold by the winery and pay a small fee to the Meritage Association.
White Meritage bears the same relationship to white Bordeaux as its red counterpart. It is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Sauvignon Vert.