Merlot is one of the world's most popular grape varieties thanks to its luscious dark fruit flavours and silky smooth finish. Merlot wines usually have a medium or full body with fairly soft tannins which make them really easy to drink. Typical flavours include blackberry, cassis, and plum with hints of dark chocolate and plenty of spice if they're aged in oak.
Key Merlot Wine Regions
Merlot is the most-planted varietal in Bordeaux where it is usually blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Merlot especially dominates on the Right Bank of the River Gironde in the prestigious appellations of Pomerol and St-Emilion where it suits the clay soils and moderate climate. Other key regions for high quality Merlot wines include Italy where it's used in Super Tuscan wines and Napa Valley in California.
Top Merlot Food Pairings
Best Merlot wines tend to be food-friendly thanks to their inviting and balanced flavour profile. New World Merlot from California or Australia tends to be a bit richer and riper, pairing well with a juicy steak, barbecued ribs, or a hearty stew. Merlot-based Bordeaux wines are usually more restrained and earthy, matching with game dishes like venison, pheasant, or a simple ratatouille.