Merlot GrapesMerlot, that poor little blackbird (how apropos a name) that can't get a break since the movie Sideways. 


Features: moderately vigorous; large bunches of thin skinned grapes; ripens and buds early
Susceptibility: grey rot, coulure, downy mildew
Climate: cool to moderate
Soil: Damp, cool, clay-ey
Slows ripening in warm weather
Once ripe, it is important to pick quickly and avoid over-ripeness


Warm fermentation extracts lots of color, aroma, flavor and tannin
Malolactic Fermentation softens sharp malic acids and rounds out wine

Aging and Blending:
Oak aging natural partner to new oak, brings out the vanilla aromatics
Bordeaux or Meritage blend: partners with more highly structured Cabernet Sauvignon.

Old World New World

France: Most commonly planted red grape
Bordeaux: 50%-60% of all plantings
Left bank: 25-50% of blend (with Cab Sauv + Franc)
Right bank: up to 95% of blend
Chateau Petrus: 95% Merlot & one of the World’s most expensive wines

Single varietal in Northern Italy
Used as blending partner in Tuscany for modern-style, IGT wines



Riper & denser style than in Bordeaux
Part of Meritage Blends
Most planted red variety in the state
Yakima Valley
Long Island,NY

Often accidentally planted with Carmenere: the forgotten 6th varietal of Bordeaux thought to have been wiped out by phylloxera.
Style is supple and soft, can be sweet or savory depending upon the producer
New Zealand
Hawkes Bay
South Africa


Color: Garnet, aged wines get brickish toward rim
Aroma: Black and red fruit (plums and berries), cocoa, chocolate or baking spices; herbaceous in Bordeaux; Can develop tobacco, leather and dried fruit notes
Body: Medium, plush texture
Acid: Medium
Alcohol: Medium to high
Tannins: Medium, velvety
Flavors: Blueberry, plum, black currant, black cherry, mint, coffee, chocolate, violet, bell pepper, fruitcake