cépage merlot

Merlot Red Wine

5 products

Merlot knows how to have a good time. Merlot offers a generous taste of berries, black and blue, cherries, and plums. However, when it matures, this grape brings out more sensuous tastes like leather and chocolat. Merlot is also a sure bet if you’re unsure what to bring for a dinner party. It pairs with a wide variety of foods like pizza, rack of lamb, barbeque, pasta - just don’t attempt a Merlot on anything too spicy. Finally, this grape has got major wanderlust and is grown on most continents (sorry to the Penguins of Antarctica, no Merlot for you). Don’t hesitate with Merlot, it is a guaranteed crowd pleaser and it may even surprise you.

    5 products

    Merlot Red Wine

    Merlot, one of the most iconic grape varieties worldwide, originates from the Bordeaux region in France. First documented in the 18th century, the name "Merlot" likely stems from the local word "merle," a blackbird known for its affinity for ripe grapes of this variety.

    Key Characteristics and Preferred Viticultural Conditions

    Merlot is distinguished by its large berries, thin skin, and early ripening compared to other varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon. This early ripening allows Merlot to thrive in cooler climates, which explains its prevalence in various regions. It thrives in clay-limestone soils that retain moisture and gravelly soils that provide good drainage.

    Wines made from Merlot are often described as round and supple, with aromas of red and black fruits such as cherry, plum, and blackberry. With age, they develop more complex notes of chocolate, truffle, and tobacco.

    Merlot in France, as a Blending Grape

    French Merlot is the dominant grape in many Bordeaux wines, particularly in renowned appellations like Saint-Émilion and Pomerol in the Libournais region. It is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and occasionally with other grapes such as Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Malbec. This blend, known as Bordeaux blend, balances the tannic structure of Cabernet Sauvignon with the smoothness of Merlot, resulting in harmonious and complex wines.

    Outside Bordeaux, Merlot is also grown in other French regions such as Languedoc and Southwest, where it is vinified either on its own or as part of blends to produce accessible and fruity wines.

    Merlot Around the World

    In South Africa, Merlot has gained popularity for producing approachable and charming wines. Vineyards in Stellenbosch and Paarl are particularly renowned for their elegant Merlots, often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to create distinctive South African Bordeaux blends. South African wines are known for their velvety texture and ripe fruit aromas, increasingly recognized on the international stage.

    Chile is another major player in Merlot production. The favorable climatic conditions of the Central Valley, with sunny days and cool nights, allow Merlot to develop rich aromas and a beautiful structure. Chilean wines are often fruity, with notes of black cherry and plum, and exhibit a soft, silky texture. When blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chilean Merlot contributes to well-balanced wines appreciated by wine enthusiasts worldwide.

    Pairing Merlot with Food: Food and Wine Pairings

    Merlot, with its characteristic roundness and suppleness, offers great versatility in food pairing. It pairs perfectly with a variety of dishes, including red and white meats. Whether grilled or roasted, dishes like filet mignon or lamb chops complemented by Merlot enhance the meat flavors while balancing their textures with the wine's smoothness.

    Soft and creamy cheeses such as brie and camembert harmonize wonderfully with the roundness of Merlot. Their creamy textures complement the fruity aromas of the wine, creating a delightful combination on the palate.

    Italian dishes particularly shine with Italian Merlot. Whether paired with rich tomato-based pasta bolognese or layered lasagnas, Merlot intensifies these dishes' flavors while adding a fruity touch that harmoniously complements Italian cuisine's notes. Italian red wines such as Sangiovese or Montepulciano d'Abruzzo also pair beautifully with these dishes, enhancing the robust flavors of the sauce and the savory elements of the dish. The combination of Italian Merlot and red wines creates a delightful harmony that elevates the dining experience, making it a perfect choice for lovers of both Italian cuisine and fine wines.

    Merlot's fruity aromas are also beneficial in balancing the heat of mildly spicy dishes like mild curries or chorizo-based dishes. Its ability to balance spices while providing a smooth mouthfeel makes it a preferred choice for those who enjoy a bit of spice in their meals.

    Lastly, grilled vegetables such as eggplants and peppers find a lovely complement with a rosé Merlot. The fruity notes and smoothness of this type of Merlot marry perfectly with the grilled flavors of the vegetables, offering a balanced and enjoyable gustatory experience.

    Merlot remains a versatile and iconic grape variety that continues to captivate wine enthusiasts worldwide. Whether as part of a Bordeaux blend or vinified alone, whether in France, South Africa, or Chile, Merlot offers a range of aromas and textures that make it an indispensable choice for many dishes. With its roundness and suppleness, it remains a reliable option for successful food and wine pairings, whether with traditional dishes or more daring culinary creations.