What is merlot and how does it taste?

Merlot is a French red wine varietal that found runaway success in Bordeaux. Wines made with merlot are often fruit driven wines, offering everything from strawberries and cherries to blueberries, black currants, plums, even chocolate. Top flight examples will also offer cinnamon or cloves, truffles or tobacco, as well as a plush and sumptuous texture. In fact, it is that sumptuous texture that has won over many enthusiasts to the varietal.

Where is merlot grown?

Pomerol and St-Emilion, two regions in France, are ground zero for world class examples of merlot. Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux and Lalande-de-Pomerol also offer thrilling examples. In recent decades, Tuscany has emerged as a world class site. Merlot vines also thrive in California's sunny, Mediterranean climate. And Washington state is emerging as a stellar setting for this French varietal.

Some popular merlot producers:
What food pairs well with merlot?

Lighter bodied merlots with brighter fruit flavors will pair with tomato based dishes like pizza or pasta, as well as with grilled chicken, roasted root vegetables, and charcuterie. Fuller bodied merlots with darker fruit notes will shine with burgers, braised short ribs, seared salmon, steaks, roast beef, or roasted lamb. And serve a top-flight merlot-based wine from the Right Bank with simply roasted duck, or any dish with mushrooms or truffles.