What Do Merlots Taste Like?

If you’re looking for a fabulous wine to give your friends and family this Christmas, you might want to think about Merlot.

Popular red

We use the term ‘Merlot’ to refer to red wines that are made with Merlot grapes. It’s one of the most popular red wine varietals in the world, and one of the primary grapes used to make Bordeaux wine. Vintages from the French region of Bordeaux have a reputation for excellence – if you buy the Chateau Petrus 2001 from the Ideal Wine Company, you’ll soon see why.

Chameleon of wines

According to Wine Folly, the primary taste characteristics of Bordeaux include black cherry, raspberry, plum, graphite, cedar, tobacco, vanilla, and clove. Merlot is the chameleon of wines; the taste of a Merlot vintage depends entirely on where the grapes were grown.

If the grapes were cultivated in a cool climate, like Bordeaux, the finished product will be structured, contain a high tannin count, and boast earthy tones such as tar and tobacco. However if the grapes were grown in a warmer climate, like California, the final Merlot will be fruitier and contain fewer tannins.

Pairing with food

The versatile nature of Merlot means that you can pair it with a range of dishes. It works fantastically well with chicken and other light meats, as well as lightly spiced dark meats. The lack of acidity and medium-tannin count of most Merlots really compliment roast duck and beef bourguignon.

But Merlot varietals don’t go with every dish. We’d advise you to avoid teaming a Merlot vintage with a fish dish, or with a meal that includes leafy greens. You should also never pair it with spicy foods, as they tend to overwhelm a Merlot’s delicate balance of nuanced flavours.

Christmas wine

Therefore Merlot is the perfect wine to give your friends and family Christmas. The subtle mix of flavours that you’ll find in your typical Merlot makes it the perfect varietal to pair with holiday season staples such as turkey, roast duck, and roast beef!