Cherry & chocolate. Reminds you of a decadent dessert? Well that's Malbec for you! Loved for it's dark cherry notes, soft tannins, & a chocolately finish, it's a common blending grape with Cabernet Sauvignon, but stands well on it's own.
Expect a dry, medium plus bodied wine, with gentle acidity & tannins. It's a versatile wine, that tastes on various expressions based on the winemaking style, climate & terroir. However, it's main tell is deep cherry & plum notes, as well as a mocha or chocolate-y finish.
Warm climate Merlot will be voluptous & have big fruit flavors, with light tannins. Often, theres are oak aged to smoothen out the wine while adding tannins & vanilla & smoky notes.
Cool climate Merlot will be more structured, and have more dominant earthy flavors. Fruit notes would be slightly lighter, leaning towards red fruit notes instead of black fruit notes, with stronger floral & spice notes.
Merlot is the most planted grape in Bordeaux, and often grows in the same climates as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. As a result, you will find it in many major winemaking regions!
Mostly used in generic Bordeaux blends, it's grown widely in Southern France, and is often blended with grapes like Cab Sauv & Malbec. You can find single varietal wines in Bordeaux as well, which will express the earthy character of the region.
Super Tuscans use Merlot as a blending grape, with Cab Sauv & Sangiovese.
Chile is another perfect homeland for Merlot. The wines from here vary from easy-drinking and fruity bottlings of the Central Valley, to more structured and serious examples from Colchagua, Maule Valley, and Maipo.
Did you know that it was thought to have been brought over from Bordeaux int he 1800s, but it turns out they actually brought over Carmenere, and this was only found out in 1994!
CALIFORNIA & WASHINGTON, USA
Washington’s Columbia Valley is where Merlot is becoming a big hit, especially in regions like Horse Heaven Hills, Yakima Valley, and Walla Walla for quality. Nighttime temperatures drop substantially and help maintain precious acidity in Merlot