Sipping with Grace: 2020 Velvet Devil Merlot with roasted pork chops or tofurkey

A wine perfect for red wine lovers and tannin haters alike



This is The Velvet Devil Merlot and the baked pork chops, vegetables and tofurkey.

JARED GRACE, Evergreen columnist

In this column, we will be revisiting a winery that we have already talked about: Charles Smith Wineries. When we talked about them last, the subject was the Kung Fu Girl Riesling, and the Velvet Devil Merlot more than carries its weight against it. 

Charles Smith’s 2020 Velvet Devil Merlot is composed of 89% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Malbec grape varietals with a 13.5% ABV, or alcohol by volume. This wine is fairly bold, smooth, dry and soft, combining a bolder and thicker mouthfeel with low tannins and low acidity. This gives it a very pleasant drinking experience.

Starting with notes of plum, blackberry, dark fruit and some red fruit, this wine finishes with flavors of oak, tobacco and chocolate, giving this already full and satisfying wine an extra layer of depth.

Being one of the wines that I enjoy drinking even without food, I was very excited to pair the Velvet Devil Merlot. Because of the unique characteristics of this wine, it is more than adequate on its own. Therefore, pairing it with a complementary dish only enhances the flavor.

I paired this wine with baked pork chops, carrots, potatoes, garlic, onions and rosemary. I also made an extra pan and, instead of using pork chops, I used a tofurkey for a vegan option with slices just as thick as the pork chops.

Usually for a Merlot I would suggest a much fattier and juicier meat like beef or lamb. However, because this wine is low in acidity and tannins, you do not need as much of that fat to balance out the lower pH of the wine.

Merlot is positioned firmly in the middle of the spectrum of red wines, giving it a versatility that you don’t usually get. The Velvet Devil Merlot exemplifies this by pairing perfectly with both the sweet and savory parts of a dish, giving a very satisfying meal overall.

As such, this wine paired well with pork and especially well with the carrots and onions, giving the dryness of the wine some sweetness to hold on to.

To consume this wine at its best, I recommend opening this wine and letting it sit for about an hour and a half, at a temperature of around 60–65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Winery: Charles Smith

Varietal: The Velvet Devil Merlot

Vintage: 2020

Locations: Walla Walla, Washington

Price: $9–13

Pairing: Roasted pork chops or tofurkey and vegetables

I would like to emphasize that this column is not a review; my purpose for writing this series is to provide as much information about a wine as I can so that you can find your niche.

If you would like to inquire about anything I have talked about in these columns or recommend wines for me to pair in the future email me at [email protected].

Drink up!