A baked potato, a sliced tomato, and a turkey leg braised with blueberries. What do these ingredients have in common? All are native to the Americas prior to European colonization. English settlers were responsible for the cheddar cheese and butter on the potato, and continental European settlement of California brought the Merlot grape to the West Coast. Dutch and German immigrants served as the background of the domestic beer used as a braising liquid.
If I ever have kids they're going to get tired of these "history on a plate" lessons.
The wine selected for this educational meal was the 2006 Red Rock Winery Reserve Merlot. $10, 13.9% abv. 95% Merlot, 2.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Syrah, .5% Syrah, sourced from various vineyards within California. Big, fruity California Merlot here with a dominant profile of cherry cola. Pretty heavy tannins on the finish. I picked it up primarily because of the charming cairn on the label. For millennia humans have used simple piles of stones to mark a path, note an important place, or commemorate the dead. I've relied on cairns during backpacking trips, and they can be found all over the world. A highly technological network of commerce and transportation brought this wine to my local shop, yet the ultimate low-tech sign caught my attention.