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Midnight Cellars
 
October 26, 2020 | Midnight Cellars

Merlot Wine - Your Go-To Guide

Mary Cressler is a wine/food/travel author, certified sommelier, and founder of Vindulge - a blog with weekly newsletters highlighting different wines and food pairings. We are proud to say Midnight's Estate Merlot has been featured in her weekly newsletter! 

From the Vindulge article: 

Merlot is a grape known for its approachability and smooth body with dark fruit characteristics. But Merlot is so much more than that. These are wines of high quality and an excellent ability to pair with foods (especially grilled foods!).

Merlot is one of the most popular red wine grapes in the world, and the second most popular red grape in the US (neck and neck with Cabernet Sauvignon). Known for its soft textures, approachable style, and adaptability to a wide range of climates and growing regions, good Merlots can be found in all price ranges and are extremely versatile with food. They range from easy drinking and fruity, velvety and delicious, to rich, luscious and oaky. This is a grape all wine lovers should be familiar with. 

The month of October represents International Merlot Month! So it’s a great time to jump on board and learn more about this grape. Several wine producers band together using the hashtag #MerlotMe all month, making it a good time to find some delicious examples and share them with your friends. 

Merlot is French for “little blackbird” (after the blackbirds, “merlau”, who apparently love to dine on the grapes).

You can find examples made from 100% Merlot grapes, but you’ll also commonly find it blended with other grapes (the softness of Merlot is a great balance for the highly tannic Cabernet Sauvignon for example).

Merlot grapes originated in the Bordeaux region of France, where it is still the leading grape grown there in terms of production and used in Bordeaux red blends. Most of the Merlot in Bordeaux is planted outside the Médoc and on the Right Bank (and most famously in the regions of Pomerol and St. Emilion) where it is blended with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and sometimes Malbec and Petit Verdot. 

Merlot also thrives in Chile, Australia, Argentina, Italy, and the United States (predominantly Washington State, California, and also New York). My favorites US Merlots can be found in Washington, followed by California.

Merlot is a very versatile food pairing wines, and as such there are a wide range of foods you can choose from for your next bottle. For your everyday, fruity, and easy drinking examples, pair with burgers, pizza and pasta, lean grilled meats like tri tip.

For the richer, bolder, full bodied styles, pair with richer and heartier dishes such as stews, smoked roasts, steaks with red wine sauces, or even lamb dishes. Remember, match light bodied wines with light dishes, and full bodied wines with richer and full bodied foods. 

Midnight Cellars 2017 Estate Merlot (Paso Robles, California):

Smoky, powerful, leathery! Lots of high toned red berry fruit with lots of barrel spice. If you like them dark and big this is for you. This is big style Merlot, high in tannins and alcohol. 

-MARY CRESSLER

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