Known as the partner in crime of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot is present in the best and most acclaimed wines of the world.
Wine historians say that the name of this grape variety, originating in Bordeaux, was inspired by the blackbird "merle", a common bird in the region. For the similarity in color of the feathers and the blue-black ripe grape, and because blackbirds seem to appreciate the sweetness of these grapes when they are quite ripe.
Merlot wine is liked for its soft and smooth texture. The lightness and sweetness this grape brings to the wine, helps to balance the acidity and tannins stronger in other grape varieties. It produces rounded wines, full bodied and well structured, very fruity and which can be rather rich and exuberant.
As it is greatly appreciated worldwide, and because of its great adaptability to different climates and terroirs, Merlot is the second most planted grape variety in the world.
In warmer climates the wines present aromas of dark fruit with hints of chocolate, and few tannins, while in colder climates they are usually more structured with a fuller presence of tannins and tobacco aroma.
When aged in oak, notes of vanilla, plum, tobacco and roasted coffee beans stand out.
An easy wine to drink, it can be drunk on its own or with food. It is the perfect wine for winter evenings. It goes well with roasts, be they beef, pork, duck or chicken, and it is also an excellent choice for cheeses, from a camembert, to a gruyere to a parmesan.
Avoid drinking a Merlot with fish, raw leafy greens and spicy food.