The merlot is a worldwide known grape variety. Although it is from the Bordeaux region it has seduced numerous countries around the world. Furthermore, we find it, most of the time, at the cabernet sauvignon’s side. But can you recognize the merlot during a wine tasting? Can you make the difference with other grape varieties?

What are the physical characteristics of the merlot?

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Bunch of Merlot at Château Beauregard, Pomerol appellation

The merlot is a red grape variety with small black berries. It is particularly present on the Bordeaux vineyard where it has found its preferred terroir. Indeed, it represents almost 60% of the planted surface and in most cases, we find it on the Pomerol and Saint-Emilion territory, on fresh clay-limestone soil. It is also present in the South-West vineyard and in the Languedoc region.

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Berries of merlot at Château Villemaurine

What are the aromatic characteristics of this grape variety?

The merlot has a nice aromatic palette with red and black fruits notes during its young age (such as strawberry or blackcurrant). When it is getting matured, red fruits notes move on to prune, undergrowth, chocolate and also spiced aromas.

In short, the merlot is a fresh supple grape variety which brings smoothness with mellow tannins. It produces wine with a nice keeping potential that can be consumed young or after 10-20 years in a cellar.

The most famous in the right bank remains the Petrus wines composed at 95% of merlot. Even if, the right bank is well-known for its merlot wines, wines from left bank can also be produced from merlot. It is the case of Château Loudenne in Médoc, with for instance, its 2016 red wine made from a majority of merlot (50%merlot – 48% cabernet sauvignon – 2% cabernet franc). These wines offer blacks fruits and toasted aromas, with a little bit vanilla note.

Which wine pairing with a merlot wine?

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Which plates can you choose for a merlot wine? Well, this grape variety bringing the fruity touch to the wines, it goes perfectly well with Italian food. Pizza, carbonara, bolognaise, carpaccio … all of them get along wonderfully with a fresh and fruity wine of merlot.

For the meat lovers, you can match a platter of charcuterie for a starter and a fillet of duck breast for the main plate.

For the vegetarian, a Provencal ratatouille, a sweet potatoes gratin or a green pepper with goat cheese quiche will come enhance your wine.

 

 

 

 

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