When I think of Merlot, I remember the guy who at first glance didn’t really stand out in a crowd, but could lace you up with lyrics if given the chance. He’s average height and he’s actually kind of cute. His silky voice delivers great poetry right from the tip of his tongue. With that, he gets the girl every time.
Merlot is so smooth! He blows raspberry and cherry notes out of his saxophone – easy listening. Usually a band accompanies him – Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc in a melodic blend. But in some specific sites in the old and new world, Merlot is rich like bass, with impressive tannic texture on the palate by itself.
Bordeaux is where the world’s most expensive Merlot has been produced for centuries, and these are two of the world’s most expensive wines. Chateau Petrus and Chateau Le Pin grow ancient Merlot vines on a subsoil of ferrous clay on the right bank of the river Gironde. The wines made from these vines are special and rare things indeed. Another other great bastion of Merlot is in Washington State. Leonetti Cellar has been making wine since 1905 in the Walla Walla Valley appellation, where the summer sun is generous and Merlot ripens happily into something of substance.
If you are a basic meat, potato & string beans kind of person, Merlot is for you, because it doesn’t demand much at all for you to enjoy and understand. As far as food pairings, we could talk about what to avoid – abundant spiciness and pepper or acidity in food will over speak Merlot’s smooth, placid, poetic voice. Keep it simple.
Your homework for this week and weekend is to try 3 Merlots. Ask your favorite retailer or browse your favorite wine website for a right bank Bordeaux or any Bordeaux in which Merlot is dominant. You will easily find Merlot in any wine shop or liquor store you enter. My suggestion for the other two is to try one that is around $10 and another one that is closer to $30. That way you will see a definite quality difference. Do Tweet your notes to @wineLIFE_ #MerlotHW. Tell us which one was your favorite (please include the wine’s name, vintage and region), how much you paid for it and its best qualities. You can also post notes on the wineLIFE Facebook wall. Enjoy!
Pictured above: Thomas Henry Merlot 2007 Napa Valley, retailed at $15.95 at wineLIFE Wine Shop. Tasty berry and cherry fruit and silky tannin, drinks nicely, finishes dry.