Merlot is often overlooked for its more famous, thanks to the venerable movie Sideways, neighbor Cabernet Sauvignon. However, Merlot is luscious, acidic, and fruit forward varietal. Especially notable for its notes of black cherry, plum, raspberry, tobacco, and clove on the nose. Producers vary greatly in style. However, exceptional examples can be had from the right bank in Bordeaux, such as Pomerol and St. Emilion, as well as from California, South Australia, Chile, and Campania in Italy. Merlot is a variety not to be overlooked and it pairs wonderfully with cheese, an acidic pasta dish with tomatoes, braised meats, and if you are feeling adventurous even a rich chocolate dessert, such as chocolate mousse (crazy we know…dessert and red wine…).
How to Choose A Merlot….
Great Merlots have a wide range of prices, from affordable examples in St. Emilion to the vastly expensive top growths from Pomerol (such as Petrus). In reality there is great value to be had from all over the world due to lower demand. The best way to explore some offerings around the $20 mark at your local store to see if old world (more acidic, tart, and mineral) or new world (riper and more fruity) is your style. We recommend buying one from Bordeaux and one from South Australia and doing a fun tasting of the two! Just don’t blame us when both bottles mysteriously get finished…