How To Taste Merlot

Tasting wine can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Merlot is one of the most popular red wines in the world and has a variety of flavor notes. If you want to learn how to taste merlot, here’s what you need to do. You’ll learn how to inspect the color, swirl and smell the aromas, taste it properly, and even pair it with food. Read on for tips on getting the most out of your merlot tasting experience!

Inspect the Color

Taking a closer look at the glass of wine, you’ll notice that its color can tell you a lot about what to expect next. Generally speaking, lighter-bodied wines have a lighter color and are often fruity in flavor, while darker-colored wines tend to be bolder and more full-bodied. Merlot is usually somewhere in between, with its deep ruby hue indicating it has flavors that are both full and complex. It’s not as dark as cabernet sauvignon but has more depth than pinot noir or sangiovese. As such, you can expect merlot to have an intense combination of fruitiness and tannins. To get the full experience of this balance between acidity and depth, you’ll need to swirl the glass next.

Swirl the Wine

Swirling the wine helps to aerate it, unlocking its complex flavors and aromas for a truly tantalizing experience. To get the most out of your tasting, follow these steps:

  • Hold the base of the stem and swirl the glass in a circular motion.
  • As you swirl, watch how fast or slow the liquid runs down the sides of your glass.
  • Pay attention to any legs that form on the sides – they can give an indication of body and viscosity.
  • Take in all of its aromas as you swirl, noting any floral or fruity fragrances that stand out to you.
  • Swirl it for 10-15 seconds before taking a sip, this will help prepare your palate for what’s to come. After swirling, move on to smell the aroma in order to further appreciate its flavor profile.

Smell the Aroma

Invoking memories of lush vineyards, take a deep breath and savor the wine’s enticing aroma. You’ll note a variety of aromas in Merlot, such as cherry, blueberry, tobacco, leather, plum, cedar and earthy scents. In addition to these more common notes, you may also catch hints of vanilla or chocolate. Take your time to really appreciate the complexity and depth of the aroma before tasting the wine. As you slowly exhale your breath move onto tasting the wine with an open mind ready to explore its flavor profile.

Taste the Wine

Let your senses take over as you explore the complex flavor profile of this exquisite Merlot. Take a sip and let it linger on your tongue for a few seconds before swallowing. You might find yourself tasting ripe blackberry, cherry, and plum flavors along with hints of savory spices like pepper and cloves. As you swallow the wine, you may notice the finish is smooth and slightly tannic. All these various elements come together to create an enjoyable experience that perfectly complements food. To get the most out of your merlot experience, move onto pairing it with food.

Pair with Food

Pairing your Merlot with food can take your experience to the next level, creating a delightful combination that will leave you feeling satisfied. When pairing Merlot with food, think of it as its own course in the meal. For example, pair a lighter-bodied Merlot with light hors d’oeuvres such as bruschetta or grilled vegetables. A full-bodied Merlot pairs well with heartier dishes like steak and roasted potatoes. The flavors should complement each other without one overpowering the other. Consider adding herbs and spices to enhance the flavors of both the wine and food. Another great option is to pair Merlot with cheese — aged Cheddar or Gouda are especially good choices. Just remember that when it comes to pairing foods with wines, there’s no right or wrong way — just experiment and find what works for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best temperature to serve Merlot?

Most people think that merlot should be served at room temperature, but the best way to enjoy its full flavor is to actually serve it slightly chilled. Chilling the wine helps to bring out its delicate and subtle fruit flavors, making it even more enjoyable. By serving it chilled, you can also avoid any harsh tannins that might overpower your palate. So don’t be afraid to put your bottle of merlot in the fridge for a few hours before serving!

What is the best way to store Merlot for maximum flavor?

For the best flavor, Merlot should be stored in a cool, dark place away from light and heat sources. It should also be kept at a consistent temperature between 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of around 60%. To help prevent oxidation, it’s best to store the bottle on its side so that the wine is always in contact with the cork. The ideal storage location for Merlot is underground or in a large pantry or closet where there isn’t much movement or vibration.

How long can an open bottle of Merlot be kept for?

An open bottle of Merlot can last up to five days when stored correctly. To ensure maximum flavor, keep the bottle sealed in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and air. You should also make sure to keep the cork moist so that oxygen is not allowed into the bottle. Once opened, transfer any leftover wine to an airtight container and store in your refrigerator for best results.

Does Merlot age well?

You may be wondering if Merlot ages well. The answer is yes! Merlot tends to age better than other types of wines. It has softer tannins, which means that it’s less likely to become bitter with age. Furthermore, its flavors tend to deepen and become more complex over time, making it a great choice for aging.

What is the best way to decant Merlot?

Decanting merlot is a great way to experience the full flavor of this popular red wine. To get the most out of your bottle, you’ll want to pour it gently into a decanter – like pouring water over rocks in a stream. Doing so will "unlock" the aromas and flavors of your merlot, making it smoother and more enjoyable for you to enjoy. Plus, decanting can be fun – think of it as an adventure where you discover all the hidden notes in your glass!


Tasting merlot can be a truly rewarding experience. To fully enjoy it, you should take your time and savor all the subtle flavors and aromas. Imagine taking a sip of smooth, velvety wine that carries hints of dark berries, chocolate and spice. It’s a complex flavor that lingers in your mouth and leaves you wanting more! Once you become familiar with the nuances of merlot, it can open up a whole new world of culinary possibilities. Try pairing it with roasted meats or robust cheeses for an unforgettable combination. Enjoying great wines is like unlocking a door to another dimension – one filled with delightful tastes and experiences!

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