Merlot is the second most popular red wine in the United States and Canada, right after Cabernet Sauvignon. Most Merlot wines are easy-to-drink, and they taste great both on their own as well as with food. The wine is known for being elegant and soft and is often recommended as the first red wine someone new to reds should try.
Born in France, it’s first been used in making when in the 1700s, when a French winemaker labeled the grape as an ingredient in his Bordeaux blend. Once this had been done, Merlot was finally noticed and spread all across the region.
The grape is added to wines to add a notch of softness, especially when combined with Bordeaux’s favourite grape, Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, they blended so well that Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are the two main grapes for the Bordeaux blend that’s famous all across the globe.
As Bordeaux wine and its popularity spread around the world, so did Merlot. In the 1900s, when the grape’s arrived in California, some winemakers started making reds using 100% Merlot, instead of mixing it with Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapevine liked the climate and grew easily.
The wine from Merlot was soft, with a low tannin level, and people loved it for its fruit cherry flavours and chocolatey finish. Later on, it was planted in New York and Washington state, becoming the essential grape to both regions.
The wine easily enhances the flavour of most meals. A bottle of entry level Merlot goes well with pizza, BBQ chicken, or any other simple meal. You know what they say, easy meals work with easy wines. A bottle of something riper and earthier, such as a Merlot dominant blend, pairs nicely with beef short ribs, roast turkey and rustic ratatouille.
The only thing that’s usually suggested to shy away from when opening up a bottle of Merlot is delicate fish dishes, extra spicy items on the menu and light salads. If you are a lover of these, you may be more interested in a German Riesling!
If you’d like to try a bottle of this wine, buy Merlot at the ZYN liquor store in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, or shop online at ZYN.ca!