Grape Variety: Merlot
Color: Tends towards medium dark and very blue.
Aroma: Red bramble fruit, chocolate, straw
Wine Making Flavors: Diacetyl and vanillic acid from American oak come through well and are often prevalent. Brett is common in the Old World, but it is the light dirt variety.
Blended with: Usually with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Grape Variety: Merlot
Merlot is the most popular and widely planted wine grape varietal in France, reaching its true zenith of expression in Bordeaux wine. Around the world, it’s the fifth most planted wine grape. Merlot has also been used to make stunning wines in Tuscany and to a much lesser degree in Switzerland, Australia, Argentina and numerous other countries, as well as in America.
Merlot started earning a reputation for producing quality wine in 1784, due to the growing fame of the wines produced in the Right Bank of Bordeaux. While the Right Bank of Bordeaux discovered Merlot in 1784, it took several decades until the grape started to become widely accepted in the Medoc, even though it is only used as a blending variety in that region.
The grape earned its moniker from its eye catching, dark, blue color. Merle in French is translated into a blackbird, which could be taken to reference either the color or the birds fondness for the sweet flavored, thin skinned grape. Merlot is now so popular, it has its own holiday. International Merlot Day is celebrated every November 7. International Merlot Day
Merlot thrives best in the clay and limestone soils of Pomerol, St. Emilion and Lalande de Pomerol. In those soils, Merlot delivers a unique expression that Christian Moueix, the owner of Trotanoy, La Fleur Petrus and other estates that combines feminine and opulent qualities.
Christian Moueix “Merlot is a friendly and delicate varietal which, on the proper terroirs and harvested at its peak, produces wines characterized by voluptuous, generosity and distinction.”
While most Bordeaux wines are blends, there are a few estates in Pomerol that produce a 100% Merlot wine, most notably Petrus. Some estates in St. Emilion are make wines using only Merlot, for example, Peby Faugeres and La Gomerie . However, most Bordeaux remain a blend of two or more varietals. According to the owner of Vieux Chateau Certan, Alexandre Thienpont, it is the blending that adds the extra special dimension to the magic of the Merlot grape.