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All About Merlot

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

In the wine world, Merlot is one of the most beloved red wine varieties. This easy-drinking grape is believed to be named after a little blackbird "merlau" because of its color. While some say it's because the grape attracted so many of these birds on the vine. Years later, Merlot remains popular as a single varietal wine or as a blend with higher-tannin black grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon. Let's take a closer look at this Bordeaux variety.

Grape Profile

Growing in moderate to warm climates, this black grape variety produces dry red wines with medium acidity and medium tannins.


When picked just as it ripens, Merlot is light to medium in body with notes of strawberry, red plum, and herbs like green bell pepper and capsicum. In warmer climates, Merlot ripens faster, resulting in medium to full-bodied wines with cooked notes of blackberry and black plum. The same is achieved in moderate climates when the grape is harvested a little longer as it ripens.

Wine Style

Merlot is outstanding on its own but is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon especially in Bordeaux reds to lower tannin levels, make them a little more easy-drinking, and add red-fruit flavours to the wine. To achieve light-bodied Merlot, little to no oak barrel maturation is needed while full-bodied Merlot, gains complexity and softness on oak. Age-worthy Merlot develops dried fruit and tobacco notes over time.

Important Regions


Bordeaux is the homeland of Merlot, where it is the most widely planted variety. This moderate climate region can be found in the southwest of France, frequently showered by rainfall due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The Gironde Estuary where two rivers, Garonne and Dordogne, meet separates the left bank (Medoc, Graves, and Sauternes) from the right bank (Saint-Emilion and Pomerol). Both appellations from the right bank are famous for producing the best Merlot dominant full-bodied blends with pronounced aromas of black fruits and oak notes that can stand the test of time. Other Merlot dominant blends in the region are labeled “Bordeaux AOC” or “Bordeaux Superieur AOC”.


From blends to single varietals, you’ll find Merlots in different styles across the USA. In California, the wines are fruit-forward and medium in body. Look into Napa Valley or Sonoma regions if you prefer concentrated and full-bodied Merlots with oak notes of vanilla, coconut, and smoke.


New world wines are food-friendly and easy to drink. Commonly grown in the majestic Margaret River or Manjimup regions in Western Australia, Merlots are produced on their own or blended with Cabernet Sauvignon.

​Tyrian Clouds Merlot

Tyrian Clouds wines are true ambassadors, representing the outstanding wines Western Australia can offer for everyday drinking. This Merlot is not one you want to miss.⁠ A soft medium-bodied red wine showing generous blackcurrant fruit flavours. A subtle kick of pepper and hints of herbaceous influences makes this Merlot a memorable treat to the palate.⁠

​Chateau Pavie Macquin Premiere Grand Cru Classe

A premiere wine made from 85% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is produced from only the best grapes grown on top vineyards in the St.-Emilion appellation. ⁠ ⁠ From the outset, this wine shows very well, with an exceptionally fine bouquet made up of black fruits and undertones of violets. On the palate, you find the remarkable intensity that remains nicely taut without any generosity; there is not a drop of extract here - just purity and freshness. ⁠

​Chateau Petit Village Pomerol

On the nose, this is a classic Pomerol: powerful blackberry aromas with an iodine-scented bouquet. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, pretty great depth, and excellent concentration to round out the finish.⁠ Made of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, the wine is the first wine to be made by Diana Garcia Berrouet, the daughter-in-law of Jean-Claude for those that recognize the appended name.⁠

Pairing Suggestions

​Braised Chicken

Mushroom Fricassee


Barbecued Beef Burgers

Beef Ribs Steak




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