What is Merlot Wine?

Merlot comes from a blue colored grape with origins in the Bordeaux region of France (it is currently the most planted grape in Bordeaux.) It is the second most planted grape, just behind Cabernet Sauvignon. High producers (outside of Bordeaux) include Italy, Australia, Germany, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Washington, and California. It is usually a dry wine with a medium to full body. Due to its softer tannins, it blends well with wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. It is typically aged in oak (8 to 12 months.)

Style of Merlot Wine

Merlot wines are more herbaceous, less acidic, and less astringent than Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlots that come out of warmer climates tend to be fruitier, while those from cooler climates are more earthy. There are two styles: International style and Bordeaux style. International style is when grapes are harvested late, producing a full bodied wine with a more purple color, higher alcohol levels, and silky tannins. Bordeaux style requires earlier harvesting so as to maintain acidity, producing a medium bodied wine with moderate alcohol content.

Aromas & Flavors

Merlot can have aromas of cherry, vanilla, clove, cocoa, currant, violet, rose, smoke, coffee, leather, and cedar. The flavor profile includes plums, blueberries, blackberries chocolate, and black pepper.

Food Pairing

Food that goes well with Merlot includes pork, poultry, beef, mushrooms, and shellfish. Fish or spicy foods are not necessarily recommended. As far as cheeses go, try out Cheddar, Gouda, Camembert, or Stilton.

ABV & Calorie Count

The typical alcohol by volume (ABV) content of Merlot from cooler climates is 12% to 13.5%. When it’s from warmer climates, it can go up to 15%. The typical calorie count is around 123 calories for a 5 ounce glass.