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Merlot Wines

The first mention of the Merlot grape dates from the 18th century. The grape variety originates from a cross between Cabernet Franc (also the ancestor of Cabernet Sauvignon) and Magdeleine Noire from...Read More

Products (48)
Château Marjosse : Anthologie de Marjosse Cuvée les Truffiers 2018
$285.00 Incl. GST & DP
$47.50 / Unit
Château Marjosse : Anthologie de Marjosse Cuvée la Charmille 2018
$285.00 Incl. GST & DP
$47.50 / Unit
Château Marjosse : Anthologie de Marjosse Cuvée Canton du Loup 2018
$285.00 Incl. GST & DP
$47.50 / Unit
MILLESIMA PREMIUM
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Organic wines
Il Borro : Il Borro 2020
$524.00 Incl. GST & DP
$87.33 / Unit
Stock currently at the producing estate – Will ship after 22 April 2024Stock currently at the producing estate – Will ship after 22 April 2024
RP
90
Frescobaldi - Tenuta Luce della Vite : Lucente 2021
$351.00 Incl. GST & DP
$58.50 / Unit
RP
95
JS
97
Organic wines
Il Borro : Il Borro 2018
$497.00 Incl. GST & DP
$82.83 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
RP
94
JS
98
GV
94
Barone Ricasoli : Casalferro 2019
$586.00 Incl. GST & DP
$97.67 / Unit
La Capitelle du Domaine de Baronarques 2016
$603.00 Incl. GST & DP
$50.25 / Unit
Frescobaldi - Tenuta Castelgiocondo : Lamaione 2012
$616.00 Incl. GST & DP
$102.67 / Unit
RP
93
JS
95
GV
92
Barone Ricasoli : Casalferro 2018
$530.00 Incl. GST & DP
$88.33 / Unit
JS
96
Organic wines
Il Borro : Il Borro 2019
$510.00 Incl. GST & DP
$85.00 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
RP
91
DE
90
Frescobaldi - Tenuta Luce della Vite : Lucente 2020
$345.00 Incl. GST & DP
$57.50 / Unit
WS
88
Castellare di Castellina : Poggio ai Merli 2008
$689.00 Incl. GST & DP
$114.83 / Unit
Frescobaldi - Tenuta Castelgiocondo : Lamaione 2017
$707.00 Incl. GST & DP
$117.83 / Unit
RP
96
GV
94
Masseto : Massetino 2021
$1,578.00 Incl. GST & DP
$526.00 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
WS
90
Castellare di Castellina : Poggio ai Merli 2007
$696.00 Incl. GST & DP
$116.00 / Unit
RP
90
JS
93
GV
93
Frescobaldi - Tenuta Castelgiocondo : Lamaione 2014
$630.00 Incl. GST & DP
$105.00 / Unit
WS
94
JS
94
GV
92
Castellare di Castellina : Poggio ai Merli 2019
$736.00 Incl. GST & DP
$122.67 / Unit
Paolo Basso : Il Biancho di Chiara 2021
$451.00 Incl. GST & DP
$75.17 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
RP
92
WS
91
GV
93
Le Macchiole : Messorio 2014
$1,366.00 Incl. GST & DP
$227.67 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
RP
94
WS
93
JS
97
Tua Rita : Redigaffi 2017
$1,130.00 Incl. GST & DP
$376.67 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
RP
96
WS
93
JS
98
Tua Rita : Redigaffi 2018
$961.00 Incl. GST & DP
$320.33 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
RP
94
JS
95
Frescobaldi - Tenuta Castelgiocondo : Lamaione 2016
$703.00 Incl. GST & DP
$117.17 / Unit
Paolo Basso : Il Rosso di Chiara 2020
$554.00 Incl. GST & DP
$92.33 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
JS
92
Château de Malengin : Eve 2019
$371.00 Incl. GST & DP
$61.83 / Unit
JR
16.5
WS
93
JS
96
Querciabella : Palafreno 2013
$1,127.00 Incl. GST & DP
$187.83 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
RP
97
JR
17+
JS
95
Gaja Ca' Marcanda : Camarcanda 2019
$1,454.00 Incl. GST & DP
$242.33 / Unit
RP
96
JS
96
Tua Rita : Redigaffi 2020
$1,021.00 Incl. GST & DP
$340.33 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
Frescobaldi - Tenuta Castelgiocondo : Lamaione 2015
$663.00 Incl. GST & DP
$110.50 / Unit
RP
94+
JR
16.5
WS
94
Le Macchiole : Messorio 2011
$1,525.00 Incl. GST & DP
$508.33 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
Tua Rita : Redigaffi 2021
$1,107.00 Incl. GST & DP
$369.00 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
RP
94
WS
93
JS
93
Rocca di Frassinello : Baffonero 2018
$981.00 Incl. GST & DP
$327.00 / Unit
RP
97+
JS
97
GV
97
Le Macchiole : Messorio 2019
$2,082.00 Incl. GST & DP
$347.00 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
WS
93
GV
93
Rocca di Frassinello : Baffonero 2016
$1,021.00 Incl. GST & DP
$340.33 / Unit
RP
95
WS
94
JS
97
Le Macchiole : Messorio 2017
$1,644.00 Incl. GST & DP
$274.00 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
RP
90
JS
92
GV
88-91
Château des Laurets : "Baron" Sélection Parcellaire 2016
$570.00 Incl. GST & DP
$95.00 / Unit
RP
91
WS
92
Castellare di Castellina : Poggio ai Merli 2017
Last cases
$704.00 Incl. GST & DP
$749.00
$117.33 / Unit
RP
92
JS
93
Demeter Biodynamic wines
Querciabella : Palafreno 2008
Last cases
$1,035.00 Incl. GST & DP
$1,101.00
$172.50 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
JS
93
GV
95
Rocca di Frassinello : Baffonero 2019
$961.00 Incl. GST & DP
$320.33 / Unit
JR
16.5
WS
97
JS
90
Demeter Biodynamic wines
Querciabella : Palafreno 2010
Last cases
$1,022.00 Incl. GST & DP
$1,087.00
$170.33 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
RP
96+
JS
99
GV
98
Masseto 2020
$1,202.00 Incl. GST & DP
$1,202.00 / Unit
In-StockIn-Stock
Château Labastide Orliac : 1780 Royal Héritage 2009
Last cases
$931.00 Incl. GST & DP
$1,034.00
$155.17 / Unit
RP
92
JS
93
Gaja Ca' Marcanda : Camarcanda 2007
$1,565.00 Incl. GST & DP
$260.83 / Unit
Château Labastide Orliac : 1780 Royal Héritage 2015
Last cases
$1,192.00 Incl. GST & DP
$1,325.00
$198.67 / Unit
RP
97
JS
98
twi
100
Tua Rita : Redigaffi 2019
$1,014.00 Incl. GST & DP
$338.00 / Unit
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Merlot: the Perfect Blending Partner

Cepage Merlot

Merlot, deriving from the French word Merle (or little blackbird) is a well-known and widely planted variety across the world. Its approachability and elegant, soft tannins pair wonderfully with food and allow the wine to be enjoyed on its own. A cross of Cabernet Franc and Magdeleine Noire de Charentes, Merlot is the second most planted wine grape variety in the world. This red wine grape variety has strong ties to the Bordeaux region, as it is believed it was first used in the 1700’s in a red blend - and has continued to be a beloved wine across the world today. Despite its reputation to be easy-drinking and its ability to soften harsh tannins in blends, the best Merlot wines can age in bottle for decades.

 

The History of Merlot

While Merlot has for a while been a staple in France, in the 1900’s, a scientific study known as the “French Paradox” brought Merlot to the spotlight in the United States. This study noted that heart disease in the French population was considerably lower than in the United States, despite the French indulgence in saturated fats. This claim was backed up with evidence that the French drank more red wine, which has antioxidant properties, resulting in a spike in red wine drinking.

The Merlot craze in America fell just as fast as it rose, after a famous split-second scene in the 2004 hit movie Sideways. A wine obsessed character played by Paul Giamatti colourfully refused to drink Merlot at dinner, while in other scenes of the movie he professed his love for the complex Pinot Noir varietal. This, known as the “Sideways Effect,” led to a downfall in Merlot sales and a huge spike in Pinot Noir popularity. However Sideways was not all to blame for a decrease in Merlot sales in the United States – it just added to the downfall. By the time the movie came out, Merlot prices were already declining as many wineries planted large yields and produced low quality wines from the variety to meet the demands of consumers.

Despite the rise and downfall in trends, top quality Merlot has remained a consistently popular variety to date. Its range and diversity allow it to be an approachable table wine for novice drinkers or a complex beauty for collectors to adore.

 

Merlot grapes, Merlot wine grapes
© Philippe Roy

 

Merlot: The Chameleon Grape Variety

Merlot has an exceptional ability to adapt to its environment, making it a widely planted variety in most wine regions. Similar to Chardonnay, this variety is able to thrive by adjusting to both its location and differing winemaking techniques. Generally speaking, Merlot is a dry, medium to full bodied wine with modest acidity and softer tannins. It is fruit-forward with notes of dark fruit such as black cherry, plums and blackberries. The Merlot grape is thin-skinned and juicy. The grapes can develop high sugar content, which results in wines with a higher level of alcohol. Depending on terroir and climate, it can pick up some earthy, herbaceous and mineral flavours. With heavier oak ageing, Merlot can become bolder, with a bigger body and have notes of cocoa, vanilla and clove.

In cooler climates like France, Italy and Chile, Merlot is known to have a bit more structure and tannins. More specifically in the Bordeaux region, Merlot-based wines will offer earthy notes. The terroir of the Bordeaux Right Bank is ideal for the production of this grape variety. Merlot thrives best in the clay-limestone soils of Saint-Émilion and Pomerol, generally cooler than those on the left bank, which results in opulent wines with higher alcohol content and softer fruits. Likewise, in Italy, the region of Tuscany reveals the tannins of Merlot, so bottles can range from earthy to oaky wines. Merlot for blending has also become more prominent to Italian winemakers over the past few decades. In addition to Old World wine regions, climatic conditions have a significant effect on Merlot in the Columbia Valley in Washington State, as the drop of the temperature at night maintains a high level of acidity in wines. In those different areas, Merlot can at time be mistaken for Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Merlot grapes, Sorting grapes at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte
© Château Smith Haut Lafitte

 

In warmer climates like California, Australia, and Argentina, Merlot wines have lower tannins and a softer finish. Warm-climate Merlot tends to have a stronger fruit presence. For some warmer climates vintners sometimes prefer an oak-ageing process of up to 24 months, which gives the delicate wine more structure. In California, Merlot is the second most popular red wine. The scope of this grape variety is very large: from the affordable wine to the high-end and more complex wine. The warm climate of Napa Valley offers smooth Merlot with jammy fruits notes along with spice and vanilla aromas from oak.  In Australia, Merlot-based wines take a page from French producers, focusing on Bordeaux-style blends especially in Margaret River.

 

Blending Merlot


In Bordeaux, Merlot is mainly used for red wine blends. While there are some exceptions, such as Petrus, a celebrated Chateau that produces gorgeous single-varietal Merlot wines, most Bordeaux remains a blend of two or more varieties. This region produces top quality blends at a wide range of prices. The most expensive wines of Bordeaux come from the Merlot-based wines of Pomerol and Saint-Émilion, while more affordable wines from Haut-Medoc and Côtes de Bordeaux are also dominated by the Merlot grape.

 

Merlot grapes, A Merlot vine budding
© Millesima

 

Merlot is the most widely planted grape in the region, thriving mostly in the clay soils of the Right Bank. It is the counterpart of Cabernet Sauvignon, providing a smoother balance and a supple finish to some of the most famous wine in the world. Producers in Bordeaux believe blending varieties adds more complexity to the wine. Differing soils and structures add more layers and complexity to the wine that a single variety may not achieve.

 

Food Pairing with Merlot

Merlot can be paired with a diverse array of dishes, as it is a very easy drinking wine with different aspects. Smooth and fruity, Merlot will perfectly match with vegetables or even dishes like salmon. A Merlot with medium tannins will go well with meat, such as chicken or light meats.

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