You’ve probably wondered when it comes to wine: what does Merlot taste like? This popular grape produces various flavors depending on how and where it is grown. Different producers also make different versions of the grape, which means that the flavor of a single bottle of Merlot may differ from that of another. Generally, Merlot will have flavors of dark, sweet berries and plums. Cooler climates produce more complex berry notes, such as spicy peppers. Most bottled merlots are aged in oak, adding cedar, chocolate, and crushed violet notes to the finished wine.
As with most grapes, Merlot is low in methoxypyrazines, which give red wines their raw, herbaceous characters. They are shrill and unpleasant, so it’s best not to drink Merlot when young. However, if you’re a fan of the grape, you’ll probably enjoy it. This grape also goes well with many other wines, so it’s worth trying a few.
What is Merlot?
Merlot is a dark-red wine grape variety grown in France’s Bordeaux region, known as “young blackbird.” Merlot grapes are frequently used to make wines with a fine, dry texture and a rich bouquet; these wines are often labeled as “easy-drinking” or even “light.” Merlot has been grown for over two centuries, with the first plantings in Bordeaux. However, it became well-known as a winemaker capable of producing excellent wines from various soils and climates, including Italy, Chile, and Australia.
It is still one of the most widely planted grapes globally, with more than half of all vineyards planting Merlot vines during their viticultural history. Merlots are known for their deep red color and can be enjoyed on their own or complement beef dishes such as steak.
What does Merlot Taste Like?
Merlots have a lighter body than Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, and Merlot grapes have thinner skin than other grape varieties, resulting in a wine with less tannin. The taste of this elegant red wine is complex and earthy, and it’s a blackberry and dark chocolate combination with a hint of vanilla. Other flavors found in Merlot wines include elderberry, plumeria, vanilla bean, allspice, and clove.
Most people like this wine because it has fruity tones that balance the tannin flavor. As a result, these wines have a lighter flavor than Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux, but they still have enough structure to provide some complexity for those with more refined palates. Merlot, like Pinot Noir, is a versatile red that pairs well with almost any dish. So, if you’re trying to please someone who can’t decide between red and white wines, this could be the wine for them.
What Color does Merlot Come in?
Merlot’s color comes from the use of red-skinned grapes. Wines can be semi-opaque to opaque and deep ruby red when young. It has a lighter color than Cabernet Sauvignon and a darker color than Pinot Noir. The glint of brick/orange tones on the rim is one sign that you’re drinking Merlot. Merlot loses pigmentation and brightness as it ages, turning garnet in color. Merlot is also used to make rosé and white wines, though it is less common.
Merlot’s Climate and Terroir
Merlot grapes thrive in a variety of climates. However, depending on where you come from, “warm” and “cool” may have different meanings. Bordeaux producers, for example, consider temperatures of 60 degrees F to be warm, whereas many new world Merlot producers believe that this is not hot enough.
Merlot grapes can be grown at any temperature above or below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. They can thrive in hot and cold climates if proper care and maintenance practices are followed, albeit to varying degrees of quality. Silt-based or gravel-like soils (such as Bordeaux), limestone, and clay are the best for them. Merlot grapes thrive in a cool climate with those soil compositions, but they can also thrive in warmer temperatures if given the proper care.
While Merlot is grown in warm and cool climates, it’s more common to drink the older variety, as it has a longer shelf life. Because it’s more versatile, it’s easy to find an affordable bottle, too. Just keep in mind that Merlot is known to be less astringent than its older cousin, and you’ll want to drink a bottle when you’re drinking it with a meal.
What is the Difference Between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot?
- Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon were two popular wines in the 1600s and 1700s in the Bordeaux region of France.
- Both wines have a deep, rich flavor and aroma, making them similar.
- However, Merlot differs from Cabernet Sauvignon in lighter and softer.
- Merlot has hints of black cherry, vanilla bean, and berry fruit flavors with light tannins, whereas Cabernet Sauvignon has dark fruit flavors like plum or currant.
- The wines range in color from purple-black to brick red, and when tasted side by side, they reveal their differences; one grape may be sweeter than the other, but both styles often offer layers of complexity, making it difficult for wine lovers to choose just one.
Is Merlot Dry or Sweet?
Merlot is typically dry, though there are some semi-sweet varieties. Merlot grapes, especially those grown on steeper terrains with less sunlight exposure, can be of exceptional quality. Because these grapes typically have less sugar, they can keep a dry style.
As a result, these wines are usually classified as “Grand Cru” for the most prestigious vintages, despite commanding higher per-bottle prices than their counterparts. Before reaching the market, Merlot is usually aged for two or three years in oak barrels. The best Merlots come from France’s Bordeaux region and California’s Napa Valley and Sonoma County wine-producing regions.
Pinot Noir vs. Merlot
Pinot Noir is a fruity red wine often served at romantic dinners. Merlot is a popular red wine with the most popular spiciness in Bordeaux, France. The sweeter of the two wines is Pinot Noir, but both have high alcohol content. Although Pinot Noir is considered a sweet wine, many other types of red wine can be enjoyed on special occasions. Merlot is a popular red wine with hints of spiciness and a fruity flavor. Because of its dark flavors and acidic taste, Pinot Noir has been described as having cherry flavors. The answer is a little more complicated, but it goes like this: In its youth, it is sweet, with a hint of bitterness from the dark flavors. Pinot Noir becomes less sweet as it ages, and the flavors darken, giving it a more complex flavor.
How Should Merlot be Consumed?
Merlot is a varietal wine with light tannins and fruity flavors. Merlot’s distinct flavors come from its unique climate, making it more difficult to grow grapes than other grape varieties. Merlot can be served in various ways, but chicken, roast beef, and pork are the most common. It can also be used in salads or as a dessert ingredient. Merlot is a varietal wine with light tannins and fruity flavors. Merlot’s distinct flavors come from its unique climate, making it more difficult to grow grapes than other varieties. The best way to appreciate Merlot’s various flavors is to start with white wine, then red wine, and then finish with a sweet fortified wine like Sherry.
Which Type of Glass Should be Used?
It may sound like a sales pitch, but the glass you drink wine in makes a difference in the flavor. Scientists in Japan discovered that the shape of a glass affects how wine vapor rises, affecting the taste and smell you perceive.
While a standard red wine glass will suffice for Merlot, a Bordeaux glass is also an option. This glass has a smaller bowl to intensify the complexity of aromas in full-bodied wines like Bordeaux wine blends and Cabernet Sauvignon. It also comes with a taller glass that allows you to swirl before sipping, allowing the wine to breathe and release its aromatic notes.
7 Different Merlot Styles Around the World
Bordeaux Merlot is usually grown in either limestone or clay, and Merlot grown in clay is more robust, whereas Merlot grown in limestone is earthier and more mineral. Most merlot grapes grown in Bordeaux are used in Bordeaux blends rather than a single varietal. Bordeaux Merlot is harvested early, when the grapes have more acidity, resulting in a wine with a medium body and moderate alcohol content.
Tuscany’s Merlot grapes are larger, plumper, and have fewer tannins. Tuscan merlot is distinguished by its oak-forward, earthy flavor. Merlot grown in Tuscany is frequently used in high-end blends known as “Super Tuscans,” a term coined in the 1970s to distinguish these blends from other, less expensive wines produced.
Merlot is the most widely planted red grape in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, used in blends and a single varietal wine. Anise, spice and a hint of stone fruit characterize this Friulian merlot wine.
United States, California.
Merlot is grown all over California, with the majority of it produced in Sonoma, Napa, Monterey, and Paso Robles. California Merlot is known for its fruity, jammy flavor and hints of oak and vanilla.
United States, Washington
With long sunny days and cool nights, Washington has a climate unlike any other merlot-growing region. Merlot grapes grown in this climate have characteristics that fall between cooler and warmer climates. Due to their unique climate, Washington merlots have a higher acidity, a tannic bite, and a strong cherry and berry presence.
Chilean Merlot is primarily grown in the Colchagua Valley’s Apalta region. Chile’s climate is very similar to California’s, and Chilean merlot has a very similar flavor profile to California merlot. The flavor of Chilean merlot is powerful and tannic, with strong fruit notes. Many Chilean Merlot wines were mistakenly labeled as Carménère until the mid-1990s, a different wine grape.
Merlot is a relatively new grape variety in Australia, which began growing in 1965 with plantings provided by UC Davis in California. Merlot is grown and produced in Australia’s McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, and Margaret River regions. Merlot from Australia is more commonly used in Bordeaux-style blends than as a single varietal wine.
Food Pairings with Merlot
- Merlot is a great match for lamb and beef in food and wine pairing. But if you’re not a fan of lamb, you can also try Cabernet Sauvignon – another bold wine. While the taste of Merlot may not suit everyone, if you find it goes with certain foods, you’re sure to enjoy it. Just be sure to experiment with it before you make any final decisions.
- Merlot is a versatile grape, making it a good choice for various foods. Because its strong flavor base pairs well with a range of different foods because of its strong flavor base. Its medium-bodied counterpart is the best match for steak, pasta, and chicken, and it goes well with pizza, pasta, and Italian dishes. Include it in your wine list if you want to enjoy wine pairings with a variety you’ve never tried before.
- The color of Merlot wine is usually purple-black. When compared to white wine, it’s similar in color, but the difference is often subtle. For instance, it goes well with meat. Unlike other red wines, it can be enjoyed with just about any food. Its mild, velvety flavor is ideal for savory dishes and a great match for poultry. In addition to chicken, it works well with games.
Carlos is best served chilled depending. Depending on how much you enjoy the alcohol and fried chilled. Its medium tannins and acidity make it perfect for a cooler climate, but room temperature is too warm in the tropics. While it is ideal for cold-weather regions, it can be ruined by being overserved. You should serve it chilled unless it is too hot to taste. When it comes to wine, the temperature of a bottle is too warm for the wine to be considered ideal.
The Merlot grape is grown primarily in the Bordeaux region. It is an extremely versatile grape. You can use it with many different types of food. For example, a cheap merlot is a great choice with pasta and pizza. An inexpensive and easy-to-drink merlot is also great for a special occasion. Its high acidity and low tannins make it a great match for a wide range of foods, and it’s not surprising that the merlot wine is so versatile.