Merlot is the main grape of Saint-Émilion and Pomerol on the Right Bank of Bordeaux in France. It is also grown in Languedoc-Roussillon in the South of France, California, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Italy (Tuscany) and Spain (Navarra). Merlot requires a moderate to a hot climate.
Merlot is lighter in color, acidity and tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon, and it also has more body and more alcohol than Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot is soft, rich, round and fruity, with a smooth, mellow feel in the mouth that is very popular in North America. Oak barrels are often used to age wines, and they give Merlot a warm, woody character. Some of the flavors of the wine combined with the barrel give vanilla, coffee, mocha, butter and/or caramel notes. Merlots from moderate climates have a red fruit (red berry, strawberry and red plum) character, while Merlots from hot climates have a black fruit (blackberry, black plums and black cherry) character. Merlot is best consumed within two to ten years, though Classified Bordeaux can age from eight to twenty-five years.
Merlot is excellent with dishes such as beef, duck, veal and pork. It also goes well with tuna and salmon.
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