The name “Merlot” appeared for the first time in 1824. The grape was named after a local black bird called “Merle” (called Merlau in the Occitan Language).
Now that we know about the origin, we can not talk about Merlot without mentioning the movie Sideways and the effect it had on the dark blue varietal. Sales of Merlot drastically crashed after the movie was released and this is due to Paul Giamatti’s character arguing that Merlot is so easy to drink.
Merlot is the third most planted grape variety in the world and is part of the noble grapes from Bordeaux. Known to be an offspring of Cabernet Franc and a half-sibling of Carmenere, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot is the most widely grape planted in the Bordeaux region (more precisely in the Médoc on the “Left Bank” of the Gironde). Its perfect marriage with Cabernet Sauvignon makes it a primary component of Bordeaux blends. This is due to its incredible balance of medium acidity and tannins.
As a single varietal, Merlot can be made in two main styles:
“International Style” – Favored by many New World wine regions. There is a tendency to do late harvest to emphasize ripeness to produce purple-colored wines full in body with high alcohol and plum and blackberry fruits.
“Bordeaux Style” – Favored by Old World wine regions, they focus on early harvest to maintain acidity, produce medium-bodied and moderate alcohol with raspberry and strawberry flavors.
Our 2020 Merlot from Virginia is made in the “Bordeaux Style” offering red fruit flavors with bright acidity.
Winemaker Tasting Notes
Aromas: Leather with earthy and oak notes.
Palate: Cranberry with leather and earthy notes.
Finish: Cedar with bright tannins and hints of licorice.
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