Merlot Merlot

The way Merlot is used has changed over the years but it's popularity has remained constant

When you hear the term Merlot associated with wine you may not understand what it really means. It is the name of a red grape which traces its ancestry to a very old grape variety. It is thought they were brought to France in the first century. From this old stock plant variety came many of the varieties we know today . They include such wines as Cabernet and Malbec. The “Merlot" grape was not named as a distinct variety until the 1800s. It is not well suited for long aging, so until recently the wine made from these grapes was used solely as a blending wine. It is was to be soft and compliant and it was used to mix with Cabernet in the French Bordeaux wines. It would bring a mellow aspect to these wines.

A more recent change in tastes and experimenting has shown, Merlot as a delicious wine in its own right. It is now being grown for that purpose in California and Chile. It is a hardy plant more tolerant of soil conditions than a Cabernet vine is, and while it buds earlier, it also can be harvested earlier.

If you want to consider the taste of this wine it can be said that it is not quite as harsh as other reds. Merlot has less tannin than a Cabernet and can therefore be drunk earlier. It is mellow but still complex, a bit chewy. It is known for the flavors of plums, black cherry, violets, and orange. It is a perfect match for beef and other medium-heavy dishes. Try some with a rich, red pasta dish, or even a heavy chicken dish. As a special treat it is also an excellent compliment to chocolate.

Author Notes:

Laurie Simpson contributes and publishes news editorial to  A one-stop resource to buy wine online, and the wine accessories for the wine lover in your life.

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