Introducing Merlot: An Underrated But Great Red Wine

You have been invited to a graduation party, and your thoughts went to wine gifts in the UK immediately. If the occasion is a housewarming or a birthday, you can choose a bottle with a nice ribbon on top as well. Perhaps the only reason you are having second thoughts about giving vin ordinaire as a gift is that you are not familiar with the different varieties. Let’s start your education on vino with one of the most underrated—The Little Blackbird—Merlot.

Red Wine for Your Consideration

The colour of red wine comes from grapes with red skin. It happens that Merlot grapes are red from the outside—a red looks like glints of brick orange when you pour the beverage on a glass. A loss of brightness and pigmentation occurs as Merlot ages. A glass of Merlot has a luxurious and soft texture in the mouth.

Merlot—a Popular Chameleon

Merlot is a smooth, medium- to full-bodied wine that is often underrated. A bottle of good Merlot is quite affordable. If you choose the right vintage, you can enjoy a great bottle with friends. Merlot is one of the easiest wines to pair because it is a chameleon.

Merlot is a dry red wine produced from black and blue grapes. The grape takes on the flavour of the location it is planted. The grape is not easy to grow, but it is highly adaptable. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes are closely related. Perhaps, that is the reason the two are often interchanged.

The best characterisation of the Merlot taste is a combination of cherry, soft tannins and a cocoa finish. Other adjectives associated with it are velvety, oaky and plummy. It is a wine of moderate qualities, with a 13–14 per cent alcohol by volume (abv) content. The alcohol content is slightly higher at 14.5 per cent in countries with a warmer climate.

Top Producers of Merlot

barrels of wine in storage

When buying a bottle of Merlot, look at the label for its country of origin. Some of the best Merlot bottles come from the Bordeaux region of France. In that part of the world, Merlot is the most widely grown grape. In Italy, the Tuscany area prides itself for producing world-class Merlot. There are delicious varieties of grapes grown in various parts of Chile, which is another good source of Merlot. In California, Merlot grape is the second most widely grown type after Cabernet Sauvignon. The state of Washington produces good quality Merlot as well.

Warm vs Cool

Old world regions producing Merlot offer vintages with subtle fruity tones and higher acidity. Cool-climate Merlot is generally more savoury and earthy. Italy, Chile and France are top sources of fresh climate Merlot.

Meanwhile, warm climate or New World Merlot are more refined, sweeter and have bolder fruity tones. Some of the top sources of New World Merlot are Argentina, Australia and California. Because the grape extracts are often aged in oak, warm climate Merlot have shades of smoke, chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla flavours. They come in deep ruby red with bluish undertones.

A bottle of high-quality Merlot is a great gift idea. It pairs equally well with roasted duck and roasted pork, and it even complements servings of pasta and pizza. Now, you should be confident in choosing a good bottle and tie a ribbon on it!