A Wine Cellar guide to Merlot
Merlot is one of the most widely planted red grape varieties in the world, along with its Bordeaux stablemate, Cabernet Sauvignon. With its soft, round tannins, it is bottled as an easy-drinking varietal wine in most wine-producing countries, from South Africa and Australia to Chile, Italy and the United States. In France, it is an important component of classic Bordeaux blends, playing the lead role on the Right Bank of the Gironde River. Merlot-based Bordeaux cuvées are often fleshy, approachable and higher in alcohol than their Cabernet Sauvignon-led counterparts.
Merlot's smooth tannins can be attributed to the grapes' thin skins. Primary flavour characteristics include raspberry, strawberry, black cherry and plum, as well as mocha, vanilla and cloves.