Parents & Origin: Cabernet Franc and Magdeleine Noire
Grape: Dark blue-colored wine grape variety, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines
Flavors: Cherry, Plum, Chocolate, Bay Leaf, Vanilla
Notable Regions: Bordeaux, France; Italy, United States, South Australia, Chile, Argentina
Sweetness: Bone-dry
Body: Medium-Full
Tannins: Medium-High
Acidity: Medium
ABV: 13.5-15%

The History of Merlot

Merlot is first traced back to Bordeaux, France in 1784 when a French official labelled the grape as one of the area’s best. Several years later in 1824, the word “Merlot” was assigned to the grape because of the local black bird, named merlau, had a particular liking to the ripe grapes. By the 19th century the vine was regularly planted and harvested in the Médoc, introduced to the Swiss, and harvested near Venice, Italy in 1855. Red wine had a major popularity surgence in the US in 1990 resulting in a heavy appreciation of Merlot. Funny enough, Merlot became one of the most popular reds due to the ease of pronunciation, as well as its softer and fruity profile.

Interesting Fact: Merlot can easily be confused during a blind tasting! The mocha, chocolate, and blue fruit notes can give it away.

Merlot Food Pairings

The more dominant the Merlot in the wine, the bolder of the meal you should go because of its bold and boisterous nature!

The Best Merlot Food Pairings

The less Merlot in the blend, the easy of a meal you should go! Try pizzas, penne pastas, barbecues and bacons. For more prominent Merlot blends, pair heavier and sultry meats. Rustic and earthy meals are also fantastic with strong Merlots such as ratatouille, aged goat cheese, and braised meat.

Food Pairings to Avoid with Merlot

Merlot is almost the exact opposite of a classic white wine, meaning you should avoid delicate fish and light salads. Spicy sauces and foods also clash with Merlot, make sure to toss the chilis!

Merlot Tasting Notes

Merlot is known by occasional wine drinkers and sommeliers alike to be especially smooth from start to finish. But the wine is specifically vinnified, making it a very versatile. The major taste palettes depend on which climate and location the vines were harvested from-- there’s a major difference between Merlots from cool and warm regions.

Warm Climate Merlot

The Merlots from California, Argentina, and Australia are the bottles with the special attributes a Merlot can only get from a warm climate. These wines are more fruit-based and contain less tannins. Producers from these regions tend to use an oak-treatment of 24 months to give the wine a stronger body.

Cool Climate Merlot

The Merlots from France, Italy, and Chile are commonly mistaken for Cabernet Sauvignon. These wines are more structured, tannin-rich, and possessive of earthy flavors such as tabocco and tar.

Shop Merlot Wines

Our Selection of Merlot

  • Chilean: 2018 Killari Merlot - Cremaschi Furlotti is a fifth-generation Chilean winery that combines Italian heritage with state-of-the-art technology to produce excellent wines like 2018 Killari Merlot. Killari means Moonlight in Chile’s indigenous Mapuche people’s Quechua language. Brighten your night with this soft and fruity red wine’s smooth red fruits and hints of black pepper and chocolate.
  • California: 2017 OM Monterey Merlot - Pour a glass of this enlightening California Merlot and savor the delightful notes of cherry, plum, and spice that stretch across your palate. Take a deep breath and a long sip of this full-bodied red wine, because it is transcendent when paired with meatloaf, herbed chicken, and veggies.
  • Italy: 2018 Belfiore Merlot Trevenezie I.G.T. -Named for a secret flower garden that provided sanctuary in Veneto during World War One, 2018 Belfiore Merlot Trevenezie I.G.T. is made from grapes grown at the foot of the Dolomite Mountains. Produced by the century-old Cielo e Terra winery, this enchanting red is a dark ruby in the glass with a harmonious, fruity, and slightly herbaceous character.

View our entire collection of Merlot wines here!

Merlot in a Nutshell

Since its first mention in Bordeaux, France in the 1800s, the appreciation of Merlot slowly but surely spread in reputation around the globe. Winemakers discovered its chameleon-like nature based on location and atmosphere and experimented with the dark-blue grapes to create the finest and smoothest of wines. Whether enjoyed with friends surrounding a pizza or a hearty braised beef meal, a glass of Merlot will always leave the modern wine lover satisfied!

Ready to learn more? Don't forget to check out our other wine guides: