How To Tell If A Merlot Is Good

Are you looking for a delicious merlot to bring out the gourmet in your taste buds? Do you want to impress your friends with an exquisite bottle of red that will tantalize their palates? Knowing how to tell if a merlot is good can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. This article will show you how to determine whether the wine in your glass is top-notch or second rate. Read on for all the tips and tricks you need for selecting a fine merlot every time.

Understand the Characteristics of Merlot

To determine the quality of a bottle, it’s important to become familiar with the distinct characteristics that make up a merlot. Merlot is a red wine grape variety that is used as both a single-varietal and as part of various blended wines. It has soft tannins, making it an easy drinking red wine with smooth and velvety texture. Its flavor profile typically includes dark fruit flavors like blackberry, cherry, plum, cocoa, and spice. When looking for good merlots you should pay attention to its body, acidity levels, alcohol content (13–14%), and tannin levels—all of which contribute to the overall balance and complexity of the wine. To ensure you’re getting all these characteristics in your glass of merlot, next check the label for quality indicators.

Check the Label for Quality Indicators

Checking the label can give you key insights into a wine’s quality, so take a close look! Look for the wine-producing region, winery name, alcohol content and vintage. Merlot typically originates from regions such as Bordeaux in France, California in the United States or parts of Chile and Argentina. Knowing where it was produced can provide an initial indication of its quality. The winery name is also important—well-known producers tend to produce higher-quality wines than lesser-known ones. Additionally, Merlot usually has an alcohol content between 12% and 15%. Wines with lower or higher alcohol levels may indicate poor grape selection or production techniques that could indicate inferior quality. Lastly, check the vintage to make sure it wasn’t too long ago; older vintages are more likely to have aged well than younger ones. With all this information in hand, you’re ready to move on to assessing the wine through smell and taste.

Smell and Taste the Wine

Smell and taste the wine to get a sense of its character: is it light or bold, sweet or dry? Swirl the glass to release the aromas, take a deep breath, then take a sip. Pay attention to how it feels in your mouth; does it have a heavy body or is it thin? What flavors do you detect on your tongue? Does the flavor linger after you swallow? Taking the time to smell and taste the wine will give you an indication of its quality. From there, move onto looking for notable wineries and vintages that could indicate higher quality.

Look for Notable Wineries and Vintages

Once you’ve assessed the wine’s character, seek out noteworthy wineries and vintages that may signal a higher quality. Look for labels from well-known producers such as:

  • Bordeaux
  • Pomerol
  • Napa Valley
  • Burgundy
    These are all indicative of high quality wines. Additionally, vintage is also an indicator of quality, with older vintages typically being more expensive and sought after. Pay attention to any awards or accolades listed on the label—these can help confirm the worthiness of your bottle. To ensure you’re getting a good vintage, research popular reviews online from reliable sources like Wine Spectator or Robert Parker. From there, you can move onto considering the price point of the wine.

Consider the Price

After noting the winery and vintage, consider how much you’re willing to spend on the bottle; price can be an indication of quality, so think of it like a sliding scale with more expensive bottles holding potentially better flavor. Generally speaking, higher-priced wines are typically made from top-quality grapes in well established vineyards. They also usually age longer and may have been given extra attention during production. It’s important to remember though that there are exceptions to these rules; a lesser-known winery could produce a high-quality wine at a lower cost, or some premium vintages could be prohibitively expensive for many budgets.

Price alone is not an indication of quality when it comes to Merlots, so research the winery and vintage before making your purchase and check out reviews online from other wine connoisseurs who have sampled the same variety. It might take some trial and error but this will help you find good Merlots within your budget while avoiding those that don’t meet your standards.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to store a bottle of Merlot?

The best way to store a bottle of merlot is in a horizontal position, away from direct sunlight and out of extreme temperatures. You’ll want to keep your merlot at cellar temperature, which is between 45-55°F (7-13°C). To maintain this ideal temperature range, consider keeping the wine in a cool basement or closet. Be sure to also prevent any fluctuations in temperature since these can be damaging to the wine’s flavor.

How long can an opened bottle of Merlot be kept before it goes bad?

Storing an opened bottle of merlot correctly is the key to making sure you enjoy its full flavor and characteristics for as long as possible. Generally, a bottle of merlot can be kept for about three to five days after being opened, before it starts to lose its flavor and character. To extend this time, keep your wine in a cool place out of direct sunlight and store it with an airtight stopper or cork. Make sure to finish any leftover wine within that timeframe so you can enjoy all of its deliciousness!

What is the difference between Merlot and other red wines?

You may be wondering what the difference is between merlot and other red wines. Well, let’s take a closer look. Merlot is a medium to full-bodied wine with notes of plum, cherry, and chocolate – it’s like velvet on your taste buds! On the other hand, Cabernet Sauvignon has a bolder flavor profile with hints of cedarwood and blackcurrant that can really pack a punch. Both are delicious in their own way; so find which one speaks to your palate!

Are there any food pairings that are particularly good with Merlot?

You may be wondering how to best compliment your favorite bottle of Merlot. As a full-bodied red wine, it pairs elegantly with many different dishes. Rich meats such as beef and lamb are especially good matches for Merlot’s fruity notes and mild tannins. Its unique flavor also complements the earthy taste of mushrooms, making it the perfect accompaniment for umami-rich dishes like risotto or mushroom stew. If you’re looking for something lighter, try pairing Merlot with a salad or vegetable dish like roasted Brussels sprouts. No matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong when pairing food with this classic red wine!

What is the best temperature to serve Merlot?

You should serve merlot at a temperature of around 59-65 degrees Fahrenheit. When served too cold, it will taste sour and tannic; when served too warm, it will become overly alcoholic and lose its flavor. Aim for the mid-range to get the full complexity of your merlot. Serve slightly chilled if you like your wine more acidic or let it warm up in the glass if you prefer more fruit flavors.


Understanding how to tell if a merlot is good doesn’t happen overnight. It takes dedication, practice and knowledge of the characteristics of the wine to determine its quality. Investigate the truth of this theory and you’ll find that it’s not just about what’s on the label or who made it, but also how it smells and tastes in your mouth. Take time to truly enjoy each glass of Merlot you come across and eventually you’ll be able to tell which ones are worth drinking again!

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