How To Choose A Merlot

Are you unsure of how to pick out the perfect merlot? Don’t worry – selecting a great merlot doesn’t have to be intimidating. Sure, learning about wine can seem daunting, but understanding the basics is easier than you think. With just a few tips and tricks, you’ll be able to easily find a delicious merlot that suits your tastes perfectly. Let’s get started!

Understand the Different Types of Merlot

To gain a more comprehensive understanding of Merlot, it is important to be aware of the various types available. Most Merlots are on the lighter side and tend to have notes of black cherry, plum, mocha, chocolate and spices. Some Merlots are blended with other grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Petit Verdot to add spice or tannin. Other styles of Merlot can range from full-bodied wines that are heavily oaked and intense in flavor, to light-bodied wines that have bright fruit flavors and subtle oak tones. Knowing the different types of Merlot will help you make an informed decision when selecting one for your next meal or gathering. With this knowledge in mind, let us now consider the origin of the wine.

Consider the Origin of the Wine

You simply can’t ignore the origin of the wine – it’s absolutely vital! Merlot grapes are grown in a variety of climates, from cool coastal regions to warmer inland vineyards. Each region and climate will produce wines with different flavor profiles and aromas that can’t be found anywhere else. Therefore, if you’re looking for a specific type of Merlot, such as one with big tannins or one with notes of chocolate or tobacco, it pays to research where the wine comes from. The soil composition in each area is also important – clay-based soils tend to give wines more body while sandy soils produce lighter-bodied wines. Get familiar with the characteristics of different regions so you can make an informed decision when choosing your Merlot. Additionally, knowing where a wine was made can help you find out more about its producer and their winemaking philosophy which could influence your choice even further. With a bit of research into the origins of different Merlots, you’ll be able to hone in on the perfect bottle for any occasion.

By learning about growing conditions like temperature, soil composition and rainfall levels in certain areas, you’ll have a better understanding of how these elements affect the final product – giving you all the information necessary to find your ideal bottle of Merlot!

Learn About the Growing Conditions

Uncovering the growing conditions of a wine can give you invaluable insight into its flavor and character, allowing you to find the perfect bottle for any occasion. The soil in which a grape is grown has a major impact on the resulting flavor of the wine. Different soils are capable of producing different flavors and aromas, such as clay-based soils giving wines more structure and minerality. Climate also plays an important role in Merlot production, with cooler climates offering higher acidity levels and lower alcohol content than warmer regions. By understanding what kind of climate your desired Merlot was grown in, you can better understand its character. Additionally, consider if it was produced organically or sustainably; this information can be found on many wine labels these days. Knowing all these details about the growing conditions will help you narrow down your search for just the right bottle of Merlot. With this knowledge in hand, you’re ready to move onto understanding the aging process…

Understand the Aging Process

Once you know where and how the wine was grown, it’s time to look into the aging process that brings out its full flavor. The aging process for a Merlot can be broken down into two main categories:

  • Barrel Aging:
  • New Oak Barrels: This type of barrel introduces strong flavors like spice and vanilla to the wine.
  • Used Oak Barrels: This type adds more subtle aromas like tobacco and dried fruit.
  • Bottle Aging: This involves storing the wine in bottles for several years, allowing the tannins to soften and balance with acidity, resulting in a smooth taste.

After understanding all of these factors, it’s time to move on to tasting the wine before you buy it.

Taste the Wine Before You Buy

Savoring the flavors of a wine is the best way to determine if it’s right for you, so take your time and enjoy each sip. Merlot is a medium bodied red wine with soft tannins that can range in flavor from sweet berry notes to earthy tones. Before you buy a bottle, make sure you sample some to get an idea of what type of merlot it is. First, smell the wine. Look for aromas like blackberry, cherry, plum or tobacco. Then take a small sip and let the flavor linger on your tongue; look out for tastes such as vanilla, oak or spice. Finally, pay attention to how much tannin there is – this will give you an indication of its age-worthiness and complexity. Make sure that the taste appeals to you before buying more bottles of that particular merlot!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to store Merlot?

Ah, merlot. ‘Tis a fine choice for any occasion. To ensure that your chosen vintage is as delicious as it can be, you must properly store it. An anachronism of yesteryear, the best way to do this is to keep it in a cool, dark place. A temperature between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal; if it gets too warm or too cold, the flavor profile could suffer greatly. Make sure all bottles are lying on their sides so that the cork remains moist and intact. This will help preserve its flavor and aroma for longer periods of time compared to storing them upright or on their tops!

What foods pair best with Merlot?

Merlot is a full-bodied red wine, making it a great choice for pairing with a variety of foods. Rich and hearty dishes like lamb, beef, and mushrooms pair especially well with merlot due to its strong flavor profile. Merlot also goes great with cheese plates and charcuterie boards as it can bring out the taste of both savory meats and creamy cheeses. For lighter fare, try pairing merlot with roasted vegetables like eggplant, peppers, or zucchini. The mellow fruit notes in this wine can help to enhance the sweet flavors that are present in these dishes.

What is the average price range for Merlot?

Merlot is one of the most popular red wines, and it can come in a variety of price points. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from $10-30 for a bottle of merlot. If you’re looking for something higher quality or more rare, you could find yourself paying upwards of $50 or even more per bottle.

What is the difference between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon?

Merlot and cabernet sauvignon are two of the most popular red wines. The main difference between them is in their flavor profiles – merlot tends to be smooth and fruity, while cabernet sauvignon has a more tannic, earthy flavor. Merlot also tends to have less acidity than cabernet sauvignon, which makes it more approachable for those just starting out with wine tasting. Ultimately, the choice between the two comes down to personal preference – so why not give both a try?

How long can Merlot be aged for?

When it comes to aging merlot, it really depends on the vintage and producer. Generally speaking, you can expect a good quality merlot to age for up to 10 years. However, some producers prefer to bottle their merlots earlier in order to preserve its fruit-forward flavors and aromas. Therefore, you may find some bottles of merlot that are ready for consumption within 1-2 years after bottling.


Choosing a merlot doesn’t have to be intimidating. With an understanding of the differences between types, origin, growing conditions and aging process you can make an informed decision about what will best suit your tastes. You may even want to taste a few before making your choice. To really appreciate the complexity of a good merlot, imagine aromas such as ripe cherries and raspberries with notes of vanilla wafting from the glass like a sweet summer breeze – you won’t regret it!

Recent Posts