Merlot, like so many other red wines, varies considerably in cool climates. Its first duty is to be fruity, but after that everything is up in the air (depending on the heat and rain from the harvest season). Our 2006 vintage is a soulful light-medium bodied effort with great length of acidity. Pinot fans can feel at home here. Pork chops can be a tougher meat, but usually they have a shade of salt and fat that makes some of us weak in the knees. The result? Salt works well to negate tannin, and fattiness tends to favour wines with some acidity. The 06 Merlot isn't a tannin-monster, but it does have a little grip. Small to moderately sized chops should complement the wine's weight. The marinade should bridge our dish with the flavours of the wine -- not so much for the fruit flavours, but for its intensity and tone. Many Merlots are oak-aged and often display sweet vanilla characteristics. We may not have vanilla in our marinade, but the sweetness is there. Looks like we have our match!
1/4 cup teriyaki marinade/sauce (as you'd find in any ordinary grocery store) 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (Canadian, please!) 1 teaspoon grated ginger root 6 boneless center cut pork loin or rib chops, 3/4 inch thick
1. Combine teriyaki sauce, syrup and ginger in bowl; lightly mix together.
2. Pour combined sauce onto chops in a large plastic food bag. After pressing air out of bag, securely close the top and let stand for 15 minutes. Turn the bag over once to better coat the meat.
3. Drain and reserve marinade, removing chops to rack in broiler pan.
4. Thin chops require quick cooking on high heat. Broil chops 4 to 6 inches from heat source approximately 6 minutes; turn over and brush with reserve-marinade. Broil for 6 more minutes or until freshly done.