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 Merlot Wine

Merlot is a red wine variety with strong historic ties to Bordeaux and the southwest of France. It is the predominant variety in most wines from Saint-Emilion and Pomerol, the area in which the variety originated. The variety is now widely planted in wine regions across the world, and in terms of the volumes of wine produced internationally, it is rivaled only by its Bordeaux companion, Cabernet Sauvignon.

In France, Merlot is the most widely planted red wine variety of all, and it is also extremely popular in northern Italy and the warmer areas of southern Switzerland. The popularity of Merlot in the United States resulted in a significant increase in planting in the late 1980s and early 1990s, particularly in California and Washington on the country’s west coast. However, while Merlot-based wines were the height of fashion then, popularity has since dropped significantly in favor of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir.

Merlot Grapes

Chile, a country which has long been known as a source of good value wine, has built its reputation mainly on its Merlot-based cuvees. The country has made good use of Merlot in both the high-production wines and some of its finer wines, particularly those from Apalta and the wider Colchagua Valley.

Investigations into the genetics of Merlot suggest that it is closely related to Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, its Bordeaux blending partners. Carmenere, an historic member of the extended Bordeaux variety is also a close relative, and has been mistaken as Merlot for many years in the vineyards of Chile. Worthy of mention here is "Caberlot", reportedly a crossing of Merlot and another variety (possibly one of the Cabernets, whence the name), discovered by Italian agronomist Remigio Bordini. This almost mythical grape variety exists only in a small vineyard in Tuscany, where it is used to make Il Carniscale's varietally labeled 'Il Caberlot' wine.

The precise flavors that Merlot imparts to a wine are not easily grouped. It is a grape used for producing wines of a particular texture, rather than a particular taste, relying on organoleptic properties other than just flavor and aroma.

Smooth, rounded and "easy-drinking" are common descriptions of Merlot wines. The main reason for this is that Merlot grapes are relatively large in relation to their pips and the thickness of the skins, in which tannins are found. For this reason, the variety is used to soften wines made from more tannic varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon (in the Medoc) or Malbec (in Cahors). It is also used in cooler vintages to balance the austerity of underripe grapes and to make the wines more approachable at an earlier age.

Merlot might be seen as the reliable grape variety, or as an insurance policy. Along with its capacity to soften wine, it is early maturing – meaning that it ripens even in slightly cooler climates. Its key drawback is that the early-developing flowers are more susceptible to frost damage in spring.

Popular blends include: Cabernet Sauvignon – MerlotCabernet Franc – Merlot, Cabernet – Merlot – Shiraz, Cabernet - Merlot - Tempranillo, Merlot – Sangiovese, Merlot - Tempranillo, Cabernet – Merlot – Sangiovese.

Related grape varieties include: Carmenere, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Food and wine matches for Merlot:
Europe: Braised lamb with truffles; osso bucco (braised veal shanks)
Asia: Pork belly baked in a miso sauce
Americas: Brazilian pork and black-bean stew (feijoada); stuffed and roasted bell pepper
Australasia/Oceania: Braised Angus beef cheek

Best Buys: Expand/collapse
Approximate (ex-tax) price: $
(Wines are selected by quality/price ratios)
Available in: USA The World
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We found 6,153 matches for Merlot, only the first 500 will be shown.
Wine Name
Petrus, Pomerol, France Pomerol $2,948 4
Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Masseto Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT $737 36
Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT $246 277
Petrolo Galatrona Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT $110 332
Marilyn Monroe Wines 'Marilyn' Merlot, Napa Valley, USA Napa Valley $47 367
Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot, Napa Valley, USA Napa Valley $50 370
Le Macchiole Messorio Bolgheri Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT $213 468
Chateau La Croix de Gay 'Chateau La Fleur de Gay', Pomerol, France Pomerol $117 477
Blackstone Winemaker's Select Merlot, California, USA California $8 512
Shafer Vineyards Merlot, Napa Valley, USA Napa Valley $52 720
Chase Era Stags' Leap Winery Merlot, Napa Valley, USA Napa Valley $30 821
Sterling Vineyards Merlot, Napa Valley, USA Napa Valley $18 888
Markham Vineyards Merlot, Napa Valley, USA Napa Valley $20 925
Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot, Columbia Valley, USA Columbia Valley $15 934
Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot, California, USA California $58 950
Chateau Faugeres Cuvee Speciale Peby, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, France Saint-Emilion Grand Cru $120 1025
Pahlmeyer Merlot, Napa Valley, USA Napa Valley $87 1124
Bogle Vineyards Merlot, California, USA California $10 1130
Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Blue Label Merlot, California, USA California $15 1181
Castello di Ama L'Apparita Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT $161 1285
Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Merlot, California, USA Napa Valley $18 1389
Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Merlot, California, USA California $18 1403
Leonetti Cellar Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, USA Walla Walla Valley $85 1431
Chateau La Gomerie, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, France Saint-Emilion Grand Cru $102 1466
Falesco Montiano Lazio IGT, Italy Lazio IGT $40 1483
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