Merlot is one of the most well-known and appreciated red wines in the world. But how can we recognize it? Guessing him blindly is not difficult if you know his typical profile. Let's see how to do it in a few simple steps.
Whether you enjoy recognizing wine blindly or you love to impress your friends... here's what you need to know to recognize Merlot blindly.
Before starting: we at Sommelier Wine Box adopt this rule to distinguish the grape variety from the wine of the same name: the grape in lower case, the wine in capital letters. Let's go!
Where does merlot come from?
The Merlot grape is native to Bordeaux , France, and together with cabernet it helps to create the famous Bordeaux blend , the most famous blend in the world. From there it spread practically throughout the world and today it is in all respects an international vine.
In Italy it is widespread especially in the Eastern Hills of Friuli and along the Tuscan coast. And then merlot has also found optimal environments in: Chile, Napa Valley, California, Romania, Australia, Hungary, South Africa, Moldova, Canada...
What does Merlot give to typical Bordeaux reds?
The famous Bordeaux reds see the Merlot grape giving the wine fullness and softness of fruit .
Is Merlot also vinified alone?
Yes, in Bordeaux Merlot is also vinified in purity (i.e. with 100% Merlot grapes), especially in Saint-Émilion and Pommerol . And so it is in the rest of the world where this vine has spread.
Other characteristics of grapes?
Merlot ripens early , thus allowing winemakers to begin harvesting (and winemaking) much earlier than other grapes.
Is it easy to recognize Merlot?
Yes! Vinified in purity, Merlot expresses itself with its typical and very recognizable aromas, so if you know its profile and with a little practice it is not difficult to recognize it.
What causes the aromas of Merlot?
The aromas of red fruits are mainly due to compounds known as esters , dimethyl sulfide , furaneol ; the more complex notes of roasting and mint are instead due to 2-funmethanethiol , piperitone , 3-sulfanylhexanol .
It must be said that these are molecules present in most red wines, which scholars believe are particularly stable and therefore effective in the perception of the aromas of Merlot.
The tasting of Merlot, to recognize it
The color is intense ruby red ;
On the nose it expresses itself with a real explosion of small red and black berries (strawberry, raspberry, currant, blueberry, blackberry), together with elegant hints of pepper, coffee, tobacco, mint, cocoa ; all on a delicate background of flowers ( purple and pink ).
Even more than on the nose, the sensations in the mouth depend greatly on the production area and the winemaking technique. However, Merlot tends to be a full- bodied , soft wine with silky tannins . The structure is remarkable, if aged in wood, but it is a red that always remains very drinkable.
Tips for enjoying Merlot
Serve it at 18° C (there are those who even go as high as 20° C: the important thing is to keep in mind that the wine heats up after pouring it).
Sip it in a large glass together with cured meats and blue cheeses, especially at the end of a difficult day.
Get a Merlot that has had a fair amount of aging in wood, call your friends and open it half an hour before they arrive. Cook a risotto with porcini mushrooms or radicchio and enjoy one of life's great pleasures.