Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Marvellous Merlot

Merlot wine has been much maligned in recent years thanks to the film Sideways. Unbelievably sales of wines made from Merlot dropped after it was sneered at in the film. Subsequently people have been missing out on the gorgeous wines that this grape makes. Merlot is one of the 6 grapes permitted in the blend which makes claret in Bordeaux – it's added to give body and softness. In the regions of Pomerol and Saint Emilion it's not unusual for Merlot to comprise the majority of the blend - one of the most famous and rare wines in the world, Château Pétrus, is almost all Merlot.

Merlot-based wines usually have medium body with the flavours of damson, black currant, blue berry, mocha chocolate and can also spiciness, grass and bell pepper notes. They are smooth, rounded wines with mellow tannins.

Merlot means “little blackbird” in French either because of the grape's beautiful dark colour or because of the blackbird's fondness of the grapes. It's thought that merlot originated in Bordeaux and the earliest recorded mention of Merlot was in the notes of a local Bordeaux official who in 1784 labelled wine made from the grape in the Libournais region as one of the area's best.

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