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lyethIt is ordinary people who make the world go ‘round. A jack-of-all-trades who can competently handle anything you throw her way is a valuable person to have around even though she may not do anything particularly well. So it is with wine.  Wines that perform well on any occasion—pair well with a variety of foods, can be enjoyed as a sipper, on hot days or cool days, etc. –are praiseworthy even if they lack features that make them standouts.

This Lyeth Meritage is one of those wines. Nothing stands out. It’s medium across-the-board, medium intensity, medium weight,  medium acidity, medium length. But it made every dish at the table sing—potatoes and brussel sprouts, veal meatballs in a saffron sauce, bacon jam, oxtail and black rice risotto—it seemed to adapt itself to any flavor profile showing a different side of itself each time. Subdued cherry and berry notes make way for cedar and earth components with hints of thyme. Complex for a wine at this price. A taut and dry mouthfeel but a very smooth finish .

Its secret of course is balance. Not too much fruit so the herbal and spice notes can come out to play. Dry, persistent tannins to cut through meat fat, but not so big as to accentuate the bitterness of vegetables. Light enough to complement seafood but with sufficient weight to satisfy during the meat course. This won’t stand out as a must-have wine or provide a memorable experience but in a supporting role it shines.

A blend of 35% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Cabernet Franc and some Malbec and Petite Verdot.

Score: 87

Price: $14

Alc: 13.5%