Wednesday, 8 February 2017

An Introduction to Merlot Grape and Merlot Wines

Merlot comes from Magdeleine Noire des Charentes and Cabernet Franc family.

Taste
Merlot Wines are smooth and contains taste of plums and chocolate and someone tasting red wine for the first time, Merlot is the best choice.

Difference between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon
Merlot is different from Cabernet Sauvignon in the following ways –
·         Color is lighter and the grape skin thinner.
·         Ripens faster that Cabernet Sauvignon.
·         Sugar Content is higher and Malic acid is lower in Merlot grapes.

Viticulture
Most suitable soil for Merlot is cold soil and ferrous clay. Due to its thin skin, it is vulnerable from insects and fungus.

Regions
France has the world’s largest share of Merlot planting which amounts to two-third. Other world regions where it is grown are – Greece, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Chile, Argentina, United States, Mexico, Croatia, Montenegro, Canada, Bulgaria, California, Hungary, Switzerland, Slovenia and Romania.
In 2004, There was 115,000 hectares of area under Merlot plantation in France and the most widely grown grape variety.

Styles
Merlot comes in 3 styles –
First style being soft, smooth and low in tannins.
Second style is higher in tannins
Third style being tannic, like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Merlot of cold climate
Merlot grown in cold regions such as Italy, France and Chile, normally show higher levels of tannins and earth like flavours of tar and tobacco and are often confused with Cabernet Sauvignon. Wines coming from Pomerol, St. Emilion and Fronsac are few examples.

Merlot of warm climate
Merlot grown in warmer regions such as Australia, California and Argentina, is fruit driven and tannin level is not prominent. To improve the structure of the wines, it is aged in oak barrels for a period of 24 months. California Merlot is one example.

In Australia, Merlot grapes are grown in about 8480 hectares of land area and production is of about 111 thousand tonnes. Check more statistics here

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