Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wine 101 - Merlot


Merlot is a dark colored, red wine varietal and is one of the most popular red wines out there. The Merlot grape originally hails from Bordeaux, France and is thought to be a reference to "merle" which is French for "blackbird". Fitting, since this grape has such a deep, blue-purple coloring. This grape's ability to adapt makes it popular among winemakers and is used both on its own and as a blending varietal. Today, there are two main styles of Merlot production - International Style and Bordeaux Style.


Fruit Flavors - Black Cherry, Raspberry, Plum
Other Flavors - Tobacco, Vanilla, Mocha, Clove
Oak Aged - Medium, typically 8-12 months
Serving Suggestion - Between 50 and 65 degrees

Now, let's talk about the differences between the two main styles of Merlot wines.

International Style Merlot

Wine makers who produce International style Merlots leave their grapes on the vines as long as they can. The longer the grapes stay on the vines, the more their sugar levels rise and their acidity drops. This leaves winemakers with full-bodied, fruit-forward wines with smooth tannins and heavy notes of blackberries and plums.

Bordeaux Style Merlot

Grapes used in Bordeaux style Merlots are harvested early. This means the grapes are more acidic and less sweet. Harvesting grapes in this manner leaves winemakers with more medium-bodied wines that have bright fruit flavors like cherries, strawberries and raspberries.

Food Pairings


Beef Tenderloin

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Roast Duck


Oyster Bay Merlot - New Zealand

14 Hands Vineyards Merlot - Washington


  1. Wow this is really interesting and so informative! I think my mouth just started watering after looking at some of that food haha. Thanks for sharing!

    Lipstick and Mocha

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I hope you'll continue to follow along!