Merlot is one of the most widely planted grapes in France's Bordeaux region. It is typically smooth, medium-bodied and fruity (flavours such as black cherry, plum, blackcurrant and mulberry often dominate). This has made it a popular choice for people who don't normally drink reds.
Merlot typically has a lower tannin than other reds, and is frequently blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to give it more depth and structure.
When left in the oak, flavours such as vanilla, coffee, caramel, chocolate and coconut can be introduced.
Merlot food pairings
The diversity of Merlot means that it is a good match for many dishes. Merlots with a higher tannin pair well with drilled and charred meats; fruitier Merlots go well with simply prepared meats like lamb and beef dishes; while softer Merlots are a good accompaniment for salmon, mushrooms and shellfish.
Food pairings to avoid with Merlot include strong cheeses and spicy dishes.
Some of the Merlots are:
- Château Moulinet Pomerol 2007, France - £19, M&S
- Domaine des Eyssards 2008 Bergerac Rouge, France - £5.99, Waitrose
- Concha y Toro Frontera Merlot 2008, Chile - £7.99, Sainsburys
- Tesco Finest Chateau Le Barrail Medoc 2010, France - £9.99, Tesco