Merlot

  (mare-LOW)
Synonyms: Merlot, Merlot Noir, Médoc Noir

Wine Name: Merlot, Red Bordeaux (St Saint-Émilion, Pommerol, Fronsac, right bank Merlot dominant) many producer names

Background: Merlot was traditionally a blending grape for Bordeaux wines in France and other places. It is softer and fruitier than Cabernet Sauvignon and came to prominence after the 1991 Sixty Minutes television show titled “The French Paradox.” Less experienced wine drinkers rushed to this softer, milder red wine as its own varietal for health reasons. The 2006 movie “Sideways” tried to tarnish Merlot’s reputation as the number one red wine varietal consumed in the United States but it still reigns strong. One of the most expensive wines in the world, Château Petrus, produced in Bordeaux France is 100% Merlot grape so it can be a great wine. In cool climates Merlot may have some leafy, green pepper aromas but when produced in temperate or warm climates it usually tastes of blackberry and plum fruit with soft, velvety tannins and not very acidic.

Classic Brands and Sources: France – many Bordeaux producers; USA – Clos Du Bois, Chateau St Jean, Duckhorn, Merryvale, Newton, J Lohr, Pahlmeyer, Paloma , Shafer, Sterling, Chateau St Michelle; Chile – Casa Lapastole, Santa Rita, Viña Casablanca

Characteristics:

Style #1 – Right Bank Bordeaux

Body – medium (+)

Acidity – medium (-)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium (+)

Style #2 – warm climate , New World

Body – full

Acidity – low

Sweetness – dry but fruity

Tannins – medium to medium (+)


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs well with savory, low acid dishes

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:

Beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, veal or pork grilled, roasted or braised, chili, hamburgers, meat loaf, mushrooms, cheese based pasta, risotto

Cheese Pairings:
Brie and Camembert without rind, mild Cheddar, Emmental, Gouda, smoked Gouda, Gorganzola, Manchego, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Pecorino, Provolone, Romano