Blog Post

Varietal of the Month: Merlot

Last Updated: May 24, 2024

For the month of June we will present you one of the most popular wine varieties after the Cabernet Sauvignon. The Merlot!
A very famous grape variety in France, Merlot means “The Little Blackbird” and is known to be soft, ripe and elegant.

Located in Bordeaux area that we saw last month, it is the most representative grape variety in this environment. We commonly find it in the Libournais vineyard thanks to the clay soil. This black grape variety is a chameleon because it adapts itself to different areas like Bergerac with a more oceanic climate. That producing area gave to the Merlot very low tannin wines.

Merlot is also very famous in Europe where it is most planted like in Italy, Spain or Germany. It’s also very popular all around the world with good abilities to grow in oceanic and fresh area. And you can find it in South America with Argentina, Chile or Brazil, in USA most precisely in Sonoma County area, Napa Valley or Central Valley in California.
South Africa is also a big producer of Merlot like China, Australia and New Zealand.


Merlot facts:

⦁ It’s an incredible finesse wine to be ideally served at 57 degrees Fahrenheit. Poured at this temperature, the Merlot wines are soft and very fruity flavors. After few years’ preservation this wine will reveal a beautiful aromatic richness and softness from black fruit note like raspberry with spices and plum persistence flavors in mouth.

⦁ As a mature wine grape you can plant it everywhere around the world, where we can find clay soil which can keep the freshness and an oceanic climate without important variation of the temperature.

⦁ This wine grape offers a tremendous aromatic palette with various flavors and fragrance like chocolate, plum, licorice, black cherry, black raspberry and blackberry. All these aromas change with the time of conservation and the season of production.

⦁ France is the world’s biggest Merlot producers but as we saw before it can adapt to different regions, that is why we find it all around the world with an important production in Italy, Spain, USA, especially in California and also in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Merlot pairings:

The Merlot is well known to have low tannins giving supple and silky wines which are recommended grilled steak, Mediterranean lamb or Roast chicken with onions, which will not alter the taste of the food. You can also pair Merlot wines with different cheeses like, Blue cheese, goat cheese or cheddar.

Thanks to its softness and fruitiness, you can pair it with many desserts like brownies or chocolate tarts which will find some link between the taste of the chocolate in the dessert and the wine.

You can also pair certain rare full-bodied Merlot like we would do with a Cabernet Sauvignon with chargrilled steak, roast beef and roast lamb.

Must-try Merlot:

2013 Katnook Estate Merlot – Coonawarra, Australia ($39)

Winemaker Notes: At the first view, we noticed a dark red color. On the nose, we found intense fruit aromas as blackberry and plum. Like for the nose note, in the mouth the black fruits are beautifully framed with fine tannins. The creamy texture and fine flavors of coffee which will integrate superbly over many years.


2014 Shafer Napa Valley Merlot – Napa Valley, California, USA ($57)

Winemaker Notes: Deep cherry red color. On the nose, the enticing aromas and mouth-coating flavors of fresh summer berries, dark plums and strawberries. All these aromas are surrounded by textured tannins which offer the perfect link between fruitiness and softness. This wine is the perfect pairing for duck breast or roast chicken.


2009 Château Vignot Saint Emilion Grand Cru – Bordeaux, France ($65)

Winemaker Notes: From a bright red color with black reflection, this wine provides a delicious feeling on the nose with freshness and fruitiness thanks to red berries that carry through to the palate. This freshness is lightly spiced by pepper and vanilla notes. This elegant wine with discreet tannins and subtle fruit flavors will easily pair a tender meat as beef or chicken.


2013 Duckhorn Merlot Three Palms – Napa Valley, California, USA ($85)

Winemaker Notes: This full bodied Merlot wine is rare. With deep purplish red color, you will find on the nose, fruity aromas as red currant and dark chocolate. On the mouth, a delicate supple texture, showing aromas of red currant, cherry, spice and licorice. This wine is a long keeping wine, with few years it will reveal flawlessness aromas.


2013 Melka Red Mekerra Vineyard Knights Valley – Sonoma County, California, USA ($179)

Winemaker Notes: The 2013 Melka Red Mekerra is an elegant and exclusive Merlot with a magnificent dark purple robe. You will find expressive nose notes of purple fruit like blackberry that will follow to the palate with spice and orange peel. This 2013 Melka Red is a must-try and will reveal pure intensity of soft tannins and fruits.
This awesome wine can be stored to obtain the finest flavors.


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