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Merlot is Much More Complex Than It Gets Credit For

Merlot may be most famous for the kind of plush, ripe, fruit-forward red wines that make it so enjoyable on any occasion. Still, it is responsible for some of the most sought-after wines globally and capable of aging for years, even decades in some cases. It's so versatile that there is bound to be a Merlot for every occasion.

What is Merlot?

Merlot is the grape variety that, when pressed and fermented, produces Merlot wine. And while Merlot red wine is the most commonly seen, white Merlot is also produced. Dry Merlot is the most well-known, but many consumers also love sweet Merlot, which makes sense—it's delicious!

Where does Merlot come from?

Merlot is grown and made all over the world. Its origins are often traced to Bordeaux, where the Right Bank is home to Merlot-based red wines that connoisseurs and collectors clamor for. Château Petrus, for example, can age for decades and costs thousands of dollars per bottle. But great Merlot is also made in California, Washington, Argentina, Australia, and seemingly everywhere in between, and is often very affordable.

What are popular brands of Merlot?

There are hundreds—thousands!—of great Merlots available. Some of the most popular are Yellowtail Merlot, Duckhorn Merlot, Emmolo Merlot, Barefoot Merlot, 14 Hands Merlot, Velvet Devil Merlot, Blackstone Merlot, Robert Mondavi Merlot, Decoy Merlot, and Bogle Merlot.

What's the difference between Merlot and Cabernet?

And how would you describe Merlot? Merlot and Cabernet are two different grape varieties. Whereas Merlot tends to produce wine that boasts cherries, plums, chocolate, and subtle sweet spice, Cabernet Sauvignons tend to be more focused on currants, cassis, cedar, and chocolate, among other flavors and aromas.

Is Merlot dry or sweet?

Merlot can be made in both dry and sweet styles, though dry Merlots are more commonly found.

Is Merlot a good wine for beginners?

Because of its typically soft tannins and ripe fruit flavors and aromas, Merlot is a great grape to begin your wine journey with.

What do you drink Merlot with?

Merlot is a very food-friendly wine. Some of the best pairings to savor Merlot with include red meat, barbecued pork, and hard cheeses. It's also excellent with not-too-sweet chocolate dishes.

Is Merlot sweet or bitter?

Merlot is usually produced in a style that highlights ripe fruit flavors, which, combined with its soft tannins, results in a wine that often tastes like the sweetness of ripe fruit, even when it's a dry wine. And because the tannins of Merlot tend not to be overly powerful, bitterness is not generally an issue.

Should I refrigerate Merlot after opening?

In general, it's a good idea to refrigerate all wines after opening them: The coldness slows down the process of oxidation, which is what negatively impacts an open bottle after a few days. If you don't finish the bottle in one evening, re-cork it, place it in the refrigerator, and take it out the next day 30 - 45 minutes before pouring it. If you want to enjoy a glass of Merlot sooner than that, pour a glass immediately, as a single glass of wine will lose its chill far faster than a bottle will. In general, however, Merlot—and all wine—should be consumed within 3 or 4 days of opening it for the most enjoyable experience.

Browse our full selection of Merlot online or check out our selection of highly-rated Merlot for a great new Merlot to try this week!

Want to learn more about Merlot?

Visit our Guide to Merlot to learn more about Merlot.