Merlot is one of the most popular types of red wine. Not quite as bold as cabernet sauvignon, but richer and heavier than a pinot noir, merlot is an easily approachable red that can pair well with a variety of foods. Made from merlot grapes, this wine tends to have notes of dark red and purple fruits, such as berry, plum, and black cherry. It also often carries more earthy tones, such as mint, tobacco, or olive. Medium-bodied and traditionally very smooth, most people are able to appreciate this wine varietal.
Where is this red wine produced? The merlot grape is one of the most commonly planted grapes in France. Not only is it used for merlot wine, but it is also blended with other grapes. Along with cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec, and petite verdot, it is used to create the traditional, full-bodied Bordeaux wine. Outside of the Bordeaux region of France, merlot grapes are often blended with malbec to create some of the most excellent wines from Southwest France. Merlot is also produced in the United States, Italy, New Zealand and South America. Some of the best merlots come from the state of Washington.
Velvety and with bright fruit tones, merlot is a versatile grape. It is perfect with a juicy pork dish or roasted salmon. The brightness of tomato sauces is ideal with merlot. Try this wine with pasta dishes and parmesan cheese. It goes well with chicken and turkey as well, especially when the poultry is cooked with fruit or herbs, such as an apricot marmalade or fresh rosemary. To help cut the intensity of rich beef dishes, try a smooth merlot. Aside from meat and fish, try merlot with roasted winter vegetables and mushroom and bean stews. Easy to pair and easy to drink, it is no surprise that merlot is one of the most popular wine varietals.