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Which Merlot Wine Is Best

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Viu Manent Estate Collection Reserva Merlot 2018 14%: 1199 Winebuyers

The Best Red Wines For Beginners (Series): #3 Merlot

From a Chilean winery established as long ago as 1935, this youthful and medium-bodied red from the Colchagua Valley brings a fruity vibrancy and a subtle oakiness to the table. With a smattering of malbec included, its combination of ripe plum, blackcurrant and dark cherry flavours has an upfront appeal and should prove an ideal partner for beef, lamb or game.

Mullineux Kloof Street Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2019

A South African selection, this Swartland Chenin Blanc is incredibly balanced, with great acidity and a bit of salinity. Itâs an amazing value for the price, and is another variety that Chardonnay fans will be sure to love. Itâs bright and fresh, and would be a great foil for anything fried, like fish and chips.

Rating: 91

Chne Bleu Abelard 2012

From the Rhône Valley, this Grenache and Syrah blend starts savory, with a whiff of black pepper. Itâs a bit tannic, but the wine is drinking well now. Aromas of cooking herbs like rosemary and oregano, as well as brambly berries, give this wine an autumnal feel, making it an ideal pairing for a holiday meal.

Rating: 94

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Best Chardonnay: Black Box Chardonnay

Courtesy of

Region: California | ABV: 14% | Tasting Notes: Oak, Apples, Tropical fruit

Black Box is known for its focus specifically on making great wine that pairs well with a variety of dishes. Their chardonnay delivers citrus aromas with buttery flavors of oak, apple, pear and mango. Bold, semi-sweet with a lasting toasted finish, this chardonnay pairs well with lighter fare like roast chicken and potatoes, or richer whitefish piccata.

The Best Red Wine Food Pairings

Best merlots that are juicy, plummy and easy to drink ...

No wine comparison post would be complete without food pairings! Weve got you covered with our top tips on how to match your meals to each of the tasty red wines weve discussed here.

If you are feeling fancy reach for the Pinot Noir. Sophisticated Pinot is perfect with lamb, poultry, pork loin, grilled salmon, and mushrooms. You can pair your Pinot with most cuisines, as the wine plays incredibly well with a majority of flavors.

Sushi night? Grab the Pinot Noir.

Pizza party? You guessed it Pinot!

Likewise, Merlot can be enjoyed with almost any kind of food but is best with beef and lamb. It is better to avoid extra-strong flavors such as spicy foods or funky blue cheese when drinking Merlot, as they could overwhelm its flavors.

As Cabernet Sauvignon is bold in body and flavor, its the perfect partner for fat and protein. Grab a bottle of Cabernet for hamburgers, hearty rib-eye, juicy steak, and other red meat dishes.

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How Is Merlot Made

To begin the winemaking process for merlot, vintners take care to remove all stems from the grapes to decrease the tannin level and bitterness of the wine. Merlot grapes get fermented at 82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit with the skins on, which lends the wine a rich red color. Because they have thinner skin than other red wine grapes, Merlot wine naturally has a lower tannin level. Tannins are chemicals predominantly in the skins, seeds and stems of grapes, as well as the wood where the wine ages. Although they do not carry any smell or taste, tannins give wine structure and texture by introducing astringency, which is the sensation of dry mouth that causes your facial muscles to tighten when you take a sip. Tannin levels in wine are distinct from acidity while we experience tannins through touch or texture, we experience acidity as a flavor.

During the fermentation, many producers will push down on the skins three times a day to keep them wet. Time spent in skins varies between vintners, but an average is 14 to 21 days. For a softer finish, producers keep the wine for fewer days on the skins.

Following the fermentation process, winemakers store Merlot inside oak barrels at a temperature of 26 degrees Fahrenheit, or a little below, and typically age it for about eight months to a year. Aging Merlot in oak adds more tannins to the wine.

Best Ros: Le Vieille Ferme

Courtesy of Amazon

Region: France | ABV: 12.5% | Tasting Notes: Floral, Citrus, Peach

Brown calls this wine produced by the Southern Rhônes famed Perrin family one of the best wine values of the wine world.

A blend of syrah, grenache, and cinsault, its a consistent gem thats 100 percent crushable, she says, with a red-fruit palate and touches of citrus, peach flesh, and white flowers.

It’s a perfect match poolside with friends, for those regular Tuesday nights with leftover Chinese food, or while simply Netflix and chilling, folding laundry. Nadine Brown, wine consultant and former wine director of Charlie Palmer Steak in DC

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Can You Recommend Specific Merlot I Can Try

If you want to find the best Merlot but still are not sure where to begin, consider our examples below, which include both cool and warm climate renditions which offer some of the best and most classic characteristics of a quality Merlot.

  • Château Trotanoy Pomerol: Whether you buy it young or vintage, this French wine is considered elegant with rich dark fruits, pleasant acidity, and noticeable tannins. Its intense but also contains enough brightness to provide lift. And unlike some Merlot, depending on the year, it is either ninety percent or one hundred percent Merlot.
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Wolffer Estate Summer In A Bottle Ros Merlot Long Island

The Best Red Wines For Beginners (Series): #6 Malbec

Anyone who can capture the essence of sunscreen, travel delays, and cold rosé day drinking gets honorable mention. Also, this one is technically No. 1 according to the Wine-Searcher data, but its a rosé, so thats probably a seasonal fluke. A delicious seasonal fluke.

Also, California clearly dominated the entire list, but two Washington State Merlots almost made the cut: Leonetti Cellar Merlot and Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot.

All data pulled via Wine-Searcher on September 1, 2016

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Bota Box Cabernet Sauvignon

Bota Box Cabernet Sauvignon is the wine we’re reaching for when we’re watching a movie with friends or family, hanging out on the back porch in the evenings, or simply just craving a glass of wine. The wine is lighter bodied than most of the other wines on our list, which makes it ideal for pouring a glass and enjoying it by itself. We loved the slight cherry notes that didn’t become overly fruity or sweet. a 3-liter box of this wine can be yours starting at $19.99!

The 7 Best Red Wine Glasses Of 2021 According To Experts
    This stemware set by Schott Zwiesel is made from a proprietary break- and chip-resistant crystal and is dishwasher safe. Even more, the glasses can accommodate a variety of wines in addition to Burgundy . Read Next: The Best Wine Glasses, According to Experts

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La Cana Navia Albario 2017

This coastal white will please Sauvignon Blanc fans with its fruity character and pronounced salinity, but also offers the richness of a great Chardonnay. Its depth of flavor plays off the aromas of pear, honeysuckle, and white pepper. It would pair wonderfully with oysters, or linguini with clams.

Rating: 91

The History Of Merlot

Seven Best Types Of Red Wines And What Facts To Know

While Merlot has for a while been a staple in France, in the 1900s, a scientific study known as the French Paradox brought Merlot to the spotlight in the United States. This study noted that heart disease in the French population was considerably lower than in the United States, despite the French indulgence in saturated fats. This claim was backed up with evidence that the French drank more red wine, which has antioxidant properties, resulting in a spike in red wine drinking.

The Merlot craze in America fell just as fast as it rose, after a famous split-second scene in the 2004 hit movie Sideways. A wine obsessed character played by Paul Giamatti colorfully refused to drink Merlot at dinner, while in other scenes of the movie he professed his love for the complex Pinot Noir varietal. This, known as the Sideways Effect, led to a downfall in Merlot sales and a huge spike in Pinot Noir popularity. However Sideways was not all to blame for a decrease in Merlot sales in the United States it just added to the downfall. By the time the movie came out, Merlot prices were already declining as many wineries planted large yields and produced low quality wines from the variety to meet the demands of consumers.

Despite the rise and downfall in trends, top quality Merlot has remained a consistently popular variety to date. Its range and diversity of flavor allow it to be an approachable table wine for novice drinkers or a complex beauty for collectors to adore.

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Mcpherson The Angus Merlot 2017 145% 75cl: 899 The Pip Stop

From an independent family-owned winery in Victoria, this Australian merlot is similar to many of the inhabitants of that wonderful country weve encountered over the years laid back, easy going and a good all-rounder. Smooth and approachable it doesnt hide its generous dark fruit and berry appeal and, as the winemakers promise, goes well with anything cooked over a wood fire.

Best For The Holidays: Codorniu Zero Ros Alcohol Free

Courtesy of Total Wine

Region: Penede | Body: Light to Medium-Bodied | Tasting Notes: Strawberry, red fruit

Bubbles and holiday parties go hand in hand, and what better way to amp up the festivities than with a pop of color? Produced in Spain, this sparkling rosé from Codorniu shows flavors of strawberries and red fruits that promise to please lovers of rosé and bubbles everywhere. Stash a few of these in the fridge and ensure that all of your booze-free bases are covered for last-minute gifts, parties, and impromptu celebrations youll thank us later.

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Wine Enthusiast’s Top Recommended Merlot

This Fronsac from Château La Vieille Cure is 75 percent Merlot with lesser amounts of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon blended in, which is fairly typical for a Right Bank Bordeaux wine. It costs around $25 per bottle, and the 2015 vintage is the highest rated Merlot on Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines of 2018 at #16. With a solid 94 point rating, this Merlot-based blend is a great value with lively red currant and pepper flavors.

Stags Leap Napa Valley

One of Americas Best Sommeliers Blind Taste Tests Merlots Under $15

These arent the guys who won the Judgment of Paris with Cabernet Sauvignon thats a different Stags Leap but they know their way around Merlot. And it is nicely complex, rounded with dark fruit but an edge of spice and some tannin. Be careful though. As one reviewer put it, there are scents exploding out of the glass.

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Best $30 To $40 Merlot

Trefethen Merlot costs $40 a bottle, but it receives such consistently high critic ratings from vintage to vintage that it’s still a bargain. awarded the 2015 and 2016 vintages 95 and 96 points respectively, making this tasty Merlot an instant classic. It’s a spicy Merlot with flavors of cherries and berries.

Northstar 2017 Premier Merlot Columbia Valley Washington

Heres a bold, full-throttle Merlot from Washingtons Northstar, which specializes in the variety. Spicy, woodsy and a little smoky upfront, aromas run to tobacco leaf and crushed herbs. The palate, though, unleashes intense fruitcassis, berry, plumand hangs on a firm tannin structure, deceptive in all its plushness and elegance.

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Cabernet Sauvignon: The Mature Cousin Of Merlot

Cabernet Sauvignon is a heartier, more mature variety of red wine. The tannins are more pronounced in this variety, leading to the drying, astringent mouthfeel common in many wines. This is especially true when the wine is not left to age as long as the grapes deserve.

If the tannins are too pronounced, decanting the wine for up to an hour can oxygenate and mellow out the flavors.

Cabernet Sauvignon is known to have a strong backbone, referring to its bold mouthfeel and the ability to be paired with succulent dishes such as braised ribs, fine steaks, and portobello mushrooms.

The wine is one of the driest red varieties, topped only by a few types such as Sangiovese and Tempranillo. Similar to Merlot, the ABV of Cabernet Sauvignon is usually around 14 percent, with warmer climates producing wines around 15 percent.

In general, Cabernet has a darker, deeper hue than Merlot. The grape was produced by crossing Cabernet Franc with Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The high level of tannins are what keeps winemakers experimenting and aging Cabernet Sauvignon longer and longer. The flavors change and mature as the wine ages.

The flavors are enhanced even more when the wine is aged in French oak casks.

Cabernet Sauvignon was developed and grew in popularity due to the Bordeaux regions ingenuity and dedication to the winemaking process. However, in the 1970s, the wine exploded in popularity after Napa Valley winemakers perfected the wine.

Ridgecrest Estate Grner Veltliner 2019

Decoy Merlot Red Wine

The Willamette Valley is so much more than a Pinot Noir region, and this Grüner Veltliner is proof of that. It has a subtle depth and lovely acidity, with aromas of citrus and pear. It has a creamy mouthfeel and just the right grip on the palate. If you love Riesling, give this bottle a try.

Rating: 93

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Food Pairing With Merlot

Merlot can be paired with a diverse array of dishes, as it is a very easy drinking wine with different aspects. Let the aromas and flavors in your glass of Merlot guide your food pairing. Smooth and fruity tasting, Merlot will perfectly match with vegetables or even dishes like salmon. A Merlot with medium tannins will go well with meat, such as chicken or light meats.

Merlot Wine: Your Complete Guide To This Versatile Varietal

McKenzie Hagan | August 26, 2020

When it comes to easy-drinking red wines, it doesn’t get more popular than Merlot. Never mind the disparaging remarks Paul Giamatti’s character made about Merlot in the 2004 Academy Award-winning movie “Sideways.” This dry and fruity red wine is here to stay, and wine drinkers worldwide are loving it. Sure, Cabernet Sauvignonmay be the top choice in the United States, but Merlot continues to hold its own as a go-to vino for just about any occasion from a night in with friends to a special celebration.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about this venerable varietal, including where it comes from, where it’s grown, what it tastes like, and how it’s produced. You’ll also discover top tips for how to best enjoy this versatile red, including ideal serving temperature, delicious food pairings, and the type of glass to use.

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If Merlot Is So Widespread Why Dont I Hear Much About It

One reason Merlot isnt frequently mentioned is that it is often used in blends. Merlot, with its classic and pleasing characteristics, is subtle enough to not overpower other varieties but also contains distinct and pleasing notes.

Bordeaux blends especially rely on Merlot, as do many around the world.

Why Did Merlot Fall In Popularity In The United States


While its difficult to ever definitely trace the decline in popularity in a certain type of wine or even grape variety, there are a number of factors that are usually behind the varietal wine that is preferred.

Sometimes, its due to the rise of another varietal wine, which, as we know, certainly may have contributed. In some instances, changes in climate, other hardships or changes in soil necessitate a transition to a different variety.

With Merlot, one of the reasons is a bit less pragmatic and instead rooted in pop culture. The 2004 comedy-drama Sideways made a splash in American theaters, earning nearly one hundred and ten million at the box office and earning several Academy Award nominations, including Best Adapted Screenplay , Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Supporting Actor.

But it also featured one of the main characters criticizing Merlot and casting it as a poor wine. Strange as it may seem, it was after that film that Merlots popularity declined more even though the flavour was the same.

Another reason was a period that saw the proliferation of cheap, mass-produced wines, and unfortunately, a number of them were labeled as Merlot. Thus, many consumers missed out on the best Merlot and instead began to associate the great Merlot with lesser quality.

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Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Gamay Noir 2018

A fun, fantastic pick from Oregonâs Willamette Valley, this Gamay Noir hits the nose with tart fruit and sour cherry aromas, and lands on the palate with intense acidity and a bit of sweetness. It is juicy, tart, and slightly fizzy, and would do best slightly chilled and paired with a loaded rare cheeseburger.

Rating: 94

How To Enjoy Merlot Wine

Before you pop that cork or twist open that screw cap, there are a few tips you can learn that will help you drink wine like a pro. Here’s what you need to know when enjoying Merlot, including the best temperature for serving, the most delectable food pairings, and the type of glassware you may want to use at your next wine tasting party.

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