Merlot grape is originated from the Bordeaux region of France. In french Merlot means “young blackbird” which came from the dark colour of grapes. From these grapes rich and soft red wine with juicy fruit flavours are made. It is often used as a base of the world’s most famous and most expensive wines, such as Bordeaux wine Chateau Petrus. In recent years the plantings of Merlot have increased around the world – into California, South America, Italy, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Merlot grapes tolerates and thrives even in poor conditions. Cooler climates produces soft fruit flavours, the grapes from hotter regions produces dry and not very sweet wines.
Merlot wine has fresh fruity flavours, such as plums, cherries, red currant, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, sometimes cocoa, chocolate, black pepper and even leather tones. This wine can be served with lots of different options and matches with all different types of food – from spicy winter dishes with meat to Mediterranean vegetables, red sauced pastas, and even salads. Merlot enhances food flavours perfectly and very often they are confused at blind tastings. Wine experts says that Merlot needs to be decanted for a couple of hours before drinking.
The grapes of Merlot are large, thin skinned and quite fragile, rotting very soon if damaged. They are often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon – the tannins and structure from the Cabernet Sauvignon is mixed with the rich fruity notes from Merlot.
The price of Merlot varies – a bottle of good merlot can be found reasonably priced in a supermarket, but there are very expensive examples as well – a bottle of Merlot from 1990, perfectly scored by Wine Spectator, can cost approximately 1,700$.