Shut Up! I Know It!



One of the most famous wine blends in the world is the Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Considered one of the world’s greatest wines, it is even replicated in California and called, ‘Meritage.’ But have you ever wondered why these two grapes were thrown together in the first place? Yes, they both grow well in the climate and soils of Bordeaux. But there’s more to it than that.

Something I’ve noticed with my teenagers, but it is also a common trait among people of all ages; we have trouble accepting compliments. When faced with a positive statement about ourselves, we often hide behind dismissiveness or self-deprecation, as in, ‘You have a lovely singing voice.’ ‘Oh, no I don’t! Unless by lovely you mean cats and bagpipes fighting to the death.’ When I pointed this out to my teenagers, I also gave them my unsolicited advice on how to accept a compliment. A compliment is like a gift and should be accepted with the same gratitude and grace. A simple ‘thank you’ is always appreciated.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a late blooming, late ripening grape. Merlot has many of the same aromas as Cab with a similar structure, but the difference between the two grapes is that Merlot is an early blooming, early ripening grape. The two grapes reflect each other in characteristics, but complement each other agriculturally. Grape farmers in Bordeaux are in a sense hedging their bets. If there is a late frost in Spring, no problem. They still have their Cabernet. If there’s a heavy rain in the fall, no worries. They still have their Merlot. The wine will be made no matter the weather. It is important to the industry that they cultivate grapes that complement each other in this way.

After my small lecture to the children on how to accept a compliment graciously, I turned to my son and said, ‘That shirt is a nice color on you,’ to which he scowled his face, channeled his inner-Bender and replied, ‘Shut up! I know it!’

This entry was posted in wine.

5 comments on “Shut Up! I Know It!

  1. I wonder why it’s so difficult to accept a compliment….

    Very interesting about the Merlot/Cab complimentary ripening thing. A good marriage, I’d say. šŸ™‚

    • foxress says:

      I don’t know why, but I think it’s true for most people. When faced with a compliment, we often put up a front of self-deprecation.

      I had to cheat a little with the words ‘compliment/complement.’ for this one.

  2. KC says:

    Ah, Bender! Nice!!

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