Merlot is a fun, popular wine varietal that boasts a robust yet incredibly approachable flavor profile. It pairs well with a very wide variety of foods, and Merlot grapes are grown and made into wine all over the world. In fact, it’s one of the most commonly made wines in the world.
As you likely know, red wine in general is very good for health and beauty because it contains a variety of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. Resveratrol, a particularly potent and beneficial antioxidant found in red wine, is added to nearly all Vine Vera products for the natural, healthy glow it can help foster in your skin.
Today, in honor of our own Vine Vera Resveratrol Merlot Collection and Merlot wine in general, we have for you a general Merlot wine guide, with everything you need to know when it comes to drinking, tasting, and pairing Merlot.
Merlot is most prominent in France, Italy, the United States (specifically California and Washington), Australia, Chile, and Argentina. Merlot grapes are grown on about 600,000 acres total worldwide, making Merlot a very popular wine all over the planet.
Merlot is usually a deep ruby red, about halfway between the color of Pinot Noir and Syrah. If you’re going for the full wine-tasting or drinking experience, hold it up to a white background to admire the body and color for a moment, before smelling, and ultimately tasting, the wine.
Merlot tends to have a medium acidity and medium tannin content, making it easy to drink but still fairly robust. When drinking Merlot, you’ll be met with strong red fruit tastes, mildly tannic overtones, and a nice, soft finish. Look for notes of black cherry, raspberry, plum, graphite, cedar, tobacco, and maybe a bit of vanilla. Merlot is usually aged 8-12 months in medium oak, so expect a bit of mild oakiness. At 12-15% alcohol by volume, Merlot definitely has a noticeable alcohol kick, but it’s not overpowering.
Do note that the taste of Merlot can vary significantly depending on climate. Merlot grown in cooler climates will be more tannic and earthy, and more full-bodied all around. Warmer climate Merlots, on the other hand, are noticeably sweeter, and the tannin less harsh. Warmer climate Merlots have a greater presence of fruit flavor, especially cherry.
One of Merlot’s greatest strengths is how food-friendly it is. Honestly, you could probably pair just about anything with a Merlot and it would taste good. That said, there are a few suggestions that are especially fantastic.
Generally, Merlot pairs well with chicken dishes, though it will also be good with red meat, so long as it’s not spiced heavily. Roasted tomato pasta, Roast duck, and Beef Bourguignon taste especially divine with Merlot.
Avoid fish with Merlot: like most red wines, it’s not well-suited for the taste of seafood (try a white instead). It also doesn’t go great with raw leafy greens, although braised or otherwise well-cooked leafy green vegetables are usually okay. Spicy food won’t taste bad with Merlot, per se, but it will overwhelm the wine’s more subtle flavors, so you won’t get as much out of it.