Meritage: You've probably seen this term on American wine labels. And if you're like 99% of the wine drinking population, you've been saying "mer-it-AHJ". After all, it looks like a French word, right? WRONG. It's actually an American word, stemming from the words "merit" and "heritage", and rhyming with the latter: "MER-it-idge".
So now that you can say it, what does it mean? Meritage is a term created by American vintners in the 1980's that basically means "Bordeaux blend". A red meritage is a blend of any of the five red grapes allowed in the Bordeaux region of France (cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec, and petit verdot), while a white meritage is a blend of any of the three white grapes allowed (sauvignon blanc, semillon, and muscadelle). Only wineries who have paid to join the Meritage Association are legally allowed to use the term on their labels. You can read all sorts of stuff about it at www.meritagewine.org.
One thing to remember is that not all American Bordeaux blends will say meritage on the label - either the winery has chosen not to join the Meritage Association, or it has decided to use a cool proprietary name instead. Great wines like Justin Isosceles and Trefethen Double T Red are Bordeaux blends, but neither one uses the word meritage. Whatever you do, don't become a meritage snob and drink only wines with the "m-word". However, if you are compelled to try a true meritage, take one of these home and pop the cork: