Merlot is a type of wine that has a deep, rich flavor.
It’s often served at celebrations and other special occasions because it pairs well with many kinds of food.
The taste ranges from fruity to spicy, depending on the particular type of grape used in production.
What is it? How do you drink it? And what does Merlot taste like? We’ll answer all your questions about the widespread red wine in this article.
First, What is Merlot?
Merlot, also known as “young blackbird,” is a dark-red wine grape variety grown in France’s Bordeaux region.
Merlot grapes are often used to produce wines with a fine, dry texture and rich bouquet; these wines are frequently classified as “easy-drinking” or even “light”.
Merlot has been cultivated for over two centuries and was first planted in Bordeaux.
However, it became popular worldwide due to its versatility as a wine producer that can make great quality wines from many soils and climates, including Italy, Chile, and Australia.
To date, it remains one of the most widely grown grapes globally, with more than 50% of vineyards planting Merlot vines at least once during their viticultural history.
Merlots are prevalent for their rich red color; they can be served alone or paired up as an excellent complement to beef dishes like steak.
Climate and Terroir for Merlot
Merlot grapes can do well in a wide range of climates.
However, by “warm” and “cool,” you might have different interpretations depending on where you’re from.
For instance, Bordeaux producers consider 60 degree F temperatures warm, while many new world Merlot producers believe that this is not hot enough.
The temperature does not have to be at or below 60 degrees Fahrenheit for Merlot grapes to grow.
They can thrive in warm and cool climates so long as the appropriate care and maintenance practices are followed, with varying degrees of quality.
Their most ideal soil composition is silt-based or gravel-like (such as Bordeaux), limestone, and clay.
Merlot grapes thrive in a cool climate with those soil compositions and can also do well in warm temperatures if given the appropriate care to grow them successfully.
Nutitional Facts of Merlot
Merlot has very few calories, less than 100 per serving.
The lack of fat and sodium can help those on low-calorie diets or who are looking to lose weight.
A small amount of sugar is present in the wine, which aids with energy production for humans as well as assisting other vitamins like Vitamin B that become more available after drinking it.
The fiber content is minimal but still an essential component in our diet because it helps regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels while also creating a feeling of being full before overeating occurs.
Iron in Merlot helps with neurotransmitters and is a critical component in the blood, which is essential for carrying oxygen throughout our body.
The potassium content helps regulate fluid balance and heart function while also lowering the risk of high blood pressure.
Merlot vs Cabernet Sauvignon
Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are two popular wines from the Bordeaux region of France in the 1600s/1700s.
The two wines are similar in that they both have a deep, rich flavor and aroma.
However, they also differ because Merlot is lighter and softer than Cabernet Sauvignon.
Merlot typically has hints of black cherry, vanilla bean, berry fruit flavors with light tannins, while the Cabernet Sauvignon is more intense with dark fruits like plum or currant flavors.
The wines vary in color from purple-black to brick red and show their differences when tasted side by side; one grape might be sweeter than the other, but often both styles offer layers of complexity, making it hard for wine lovers to choose just one.
Is Merlot Sweet or Dry?
Merlot is typically dry, although some variations are semi-sweet.
The grapes that produce Merlot can be of very high quality, specifically those grown on steeper terrains with less sunlight exposure.
These grapes typically have less sugar, which is why they can maintain a dry style.
As a result, these wines are usually classified under a subcategory known as “Grand Cru” for the most elite vintages, although they command higher prices per bottle than their counterparts.
Merlot is generally aged in oak barrels for two or three years before it reaches the market.
The best Merlots come from France’s Bordeaux region and its wine-producing regions of Napa Valley and Sonoma County in California.
What Does Merlot Taste Like?
Merlots are typically lighter-bodied than Cabernets and Chardonnays.
This is because merlot grapes have thinner skin than other grape varieties, which means the wine has less tannin.
This elegant red wine has a complex, earthy taste.
It’s a combination of blackberries and dark chocolate with a little bit of vanilla.
Elderberry, plumeria, vanilla bean, allspice, and clove are just a few of the other flavors found in Merlot wines.
Most people who drink this wine enjoy it because it has fruity tones to balance its tannin flavor.
As a result, these wines tend to taste lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux but still have enough structure to provide some complexity for those with more sophisticated palates.
Like Pinot Noir, Merlot is a versatile red that goes well with most food.
So if you’re trying to please someone who can’t make up their mind about wine, this may be the perfect wine for them.
How to Drink Merlot?
You usually want to serve red wines at room temperature, but Merlot should be served closer to the ideal temperature for all red wines (approximately 63 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit).
When storing your Merlot, keep it at about 60 degrees.
If you store your Merlot at 60 degrees, wait 30 minutes for the wine to warm up before serving.
If you keep it at room temperature, make sure to chill it to the proper temperature before serving.
If you cool your Merlot too much, the subtleness and character will be lost.
A merlot wine needs to be opened before opening up the flavors and soften tannins.
To allow the wine time to breathe, open a bottle of Merlot and let it sit for at least 20 minutes, but ideally, an hour will do.
The perfect glass for Merlot is a wineglass or a goblet.
The reason being that it has more of an opening than most other glasses, allowing you to smell and taste the wine better.
You should also clean your glass with distilled water before drinking because tap water can prevent you from tasting all of those delicious flavors in Merlot.
Food Pairing with Merlot
Merlot is a soft, fruity wine that can be enjoyed with many different types of food.
Merlot pairs well with salads and light pasta dishes.
Be mindful of pairing your Merlot with solid foods such as steak or heavily spiced dishes which may overshadow the more subtle flavors of the wine.
Merlot is also a great partner for desserts and chocolate.
If you’re not sure what to pair your Merlot with, try one of these:
- Apple slices dipped in honey or cinnamon sugar (a favorite).
- Roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and vegetables.
- Tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwich on the side.
- Warm chocolate cake with ice cream and hot fudge sauce.
- Pumpkin pie a la mode (or pumpkin cheesecake).
Merlot is a type of wine that has been popularized in the United States.
The grape variety used to make it, usually Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir grapes, are grown around France and Italy, where they originated from.
Wine connoisseurs typically enjoy merlots because they have a deep flavor with hints of cherry and vanilla and black currant notes.
It’s a classic and goes well with many different foods, from meats to desserts so, if you are looking for an easy way to impress your guests or want something new on the table this weekend, give it a try.