Wine in a
"Wine Information and Wine Talk"
MERLOT  GRAPE and Merlot Glass 30 oz.
    Merlot is a red grape variety with strong historic ties to Bordeaux and the south-west of France. The variety is now widely planted in wine regions across the world, and in terms of the volumes of wine produced internationally, it is rivaled only by another Bordeaux companion, Cabernet Sauvignon.
     In France Merlot is the most widely planted red wine variety of all. The popularity of Merlot in the United States saw a significant increase in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, particularly in the country’s west coast area of California and Washington.
     The precise flavors which Merlot imparts to a wine are not easily grouped. It is a grape used for producing wines of a particular texture, rather than a particular taste, relying on properties other than just for flavor and aroma. Smooth, rounded and ‘easy-drinking’ are common descriptions of Merlot wines. The main reason for this is that Merlot grapes are relatively large in relation to their pips and skin thickness, where the tannins are to be found. For this reason, the variety is used to soften wines made from more tannic varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon. It is also used in cooler vintages to balance the austerity of under-ripe grapes and to make the wines more approachable at an earlier age.
     Merlot might be seen as the ‘reliable’ grape variety, or as an insurance policy. Not only will it soften wines and make them more widely appealing, but it is also an early-maturing variety meaning that it ripens even in slightly cooler climates. Its key drawback however, is that the early-developing  flowers are more susceptible to frost.