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What Is Merlot?

What is Merlot, you ask? The most likely origin of the name Merlot comes from the Occitan word for blackbird, merlau. It was observed that these birds enjoyed eating the grape. Its name is very well known, as Merlot is one of the most popular red grape wines in America. The skins of red grapes give Merlot its red wine color. When youthful, it appears almost ruby red, but its color will shift as it ages, approaching more of a garnet hue.

Continue reading our guide to Merlot to learn the basics about what Merlot is, what it tastes like, how it should be stored, and more.

Merlot's flavor profile

Merlot's flavor is highly dependent on the climate in which the grapes were grown which makes it a chameleon. Merlot is one of the most distinctive wines in the world because of its versatility and texture. In fact, a Merlot is one of the best red wines for those who are new to red wine. Because of Merlot's popularity, many wineries attempt to make their own. However, since there are several factors that affect the taste and process of making Merlot, there is an abundance of poor-quality Merlot wines. Many of Merlot's feature sensual notes feature blackberries, plums, cocoa, and black cherries. Some Merlots are aged in oak barrels to provide ligneous notes.

Is it sweet or dry?

Most Merlots feature a dry flavor because of the way the grapes are processed. The general process of making a dry Merlot involves pressing the grapes to express its sugars, followed by converting the grape into alcohol with the aid of yeast. In short, the wine becomes dry once all the sugar is converted into alcohol. Any leftover sugar will result in a sweet wine that's less dry; some wineries intentionally do this for their unique take on a Merlot.

Best practices for storing and serving Merlot

Many presume red wines must be served at room temperature, but that's simply untrue. In fact, serving a Merlot at room temperature can significantly affect the flavor, depending on the season and your home's temperature. You should store it somewhere that is not too cool, not too hot, and not in direct sunlight. If you want the perfect glass of Merlot, serve it between 60°F and 65°F. If you don't finish the bottle, store it in the fridge but be sure to enjoy it within the next few days before it loses its flavor.

Now that you know what Merlot is and what temperature to store it and serve it at, you can now truly enjoy Merlot at home with friends or family! Visit our blog today, or check out our current offerings before they're gone!