Reading Room

Hailing Merryvale’s cab for its taste, good value

By Peg Melnik
Monday, July 13, 2009

Our wine of the week winner is the Starmont Merryvale, 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and it pairs well with grilled meats and barbecue.

“When a wine is chilled or kept at cellar temperature 56 to 60 degrees F., the wine is perceived as slightly cool, which helps to keep cabs in balance with the food by keeping the emphasis focused on the wine,” said Sean Foster, senior winemaker of Starmont and Merryvale Vineyards.

Foster, the epitome of the practical winemaker, is proud of the cab’s price. He said it’s a standout because he uses the same winemaking regimen for this bottling as he does for higher-priced brands. He has a point. This tasty cab, priced at $27, is worth a try because it can stand up to higher-priced Napa Valley cabs.

Foster found his calling as a winemaker after exploring the world of beer. While studying biochemical engineering at UCLA, Foster occassionally brewed beer to drink with friends. That’s when he began to taste wine with friends, but he never thought his path would lead him to winemaking.

Yet, in his final year of college he realized a career as a scientist wasn’t for him, although he still wanted to put his science background to use.

After working the harvest at Merryvale, Foster explored winemaking as a practical solution to his determination to create a product to enjoy with others. His career at Merryvale has come full circle, with him paying his dues initally as a cellar rat for a few years.

Updated: Tuesday, June 07, 2011