Merlot Investigate the French grape with global appeal
IT’S International Merlot Day next week (yes, there is such a thing), which is all the excuse you need to sample a few. In its spiritual home of Bordeaux merlot is mixed with cabernet sauvignon to refine its full body and texture. Merlot is the dominant grape in the wines of Saint Emilion and Pomerol. While these luxury wines may not be for everyday drinking, there are wineries around the world producing merlot-based wines muscled up with other grapes to create a more complex style or smooth 100 per cent merlot styles. Here’s a few favourites.
Errazuriz Estate Series 2015, Chile (£8.99 from £9.99, Majestic Wine)
Inviting aromas of red fruits and black pepper flow on to the palate and mingle with hints of smoke, cloves, cherry and plummy black fruits, ending with a toasty note on the finish.
Vinalba Reserve Cabernet Malbec Merlot 2014, Argentina (£8 from £10 until November 1, Sainsbury’s)
If you like reds with more oomph, this blend is robust with cabernet sauvignon the dominant grape and a dollop of malbec and merlot adding complexity and body. Loaded with black fruits and spice, there’s a suggestion of dark chocolate and oak on the finish.
Villa Maria Merlot 2014, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand (£7.99 from £11.99, Waitrose)
From one of the country’s most reliable producers, this has ample aromatic appeal with an expressive bouquet of black plums and berry fruits. The palate is structured yet soft, with hints of vanilla and cedar and fine grained tannins.