Pronounced mur-lo. A grape varietal used in the production of hearty red wine. Originating in the Bordeaux region of France, the grape is also grown in the United States, Chile, Italy, Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. As well as being vinified as a 100% varietal, Merlot is blended with varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, and used as a blending agent for Bordeaux wines. Merlot is titled a noble Bordeaux varietal. The Primary intent of blending Merlot is to soften and balance. High quality 100% varietal are labeled as Ornellaia, Fattoria de Ama, and Perol’s Château Pétrus.
Also known as: Bigney, Crabutet, Crabutet Noir, Médoc Noir, Merlau, Merlot Noir, Petit Merle, Vitraille. Wine's labeled "Merlo Blanc" are unrelated.
Characteristics: Hearty, smooth, mellow, yet complex red wine. Styles can vary greatly from low to medium intensity. Other descriptive terms that may be associated with the Merlot varietal are black cherry, blueberry, raspberry, minty, peppery, and straw. Merlot varietal wines tend to be moderate in body and low in tannins when compared to other red wines.
Ageing: Ready to consume in 4 to 8 years. Oak ageing is known to compliment and soften, however, the fruit flavor may fade.
Serving temperature: Serve at a temperature of 60º-65º F.
Food pairings: Pork, turkey, pasta with red or rich sauce, beef, veal, pheasant, chocolate, and garden salads.