Tag Archives: Merlot wine

Ya Gotta Love Merlot


The educator in me can’t resist following up on the last post, about buying Merlot, by telling you more about the grape, itself. 

Retailers and vintners still tell me that Merlot is a tough sell, thanks to the movie “Sideways.” Wow! That movie was popular a long time ago!! Anyway, when the main character in the movie says “I’m not drinking any f-ing Merlot!” he forgot that Merlot has been making great wine for centuries! In fact, the most expensive wine on the planet, Chateau Pétrus, is – you guessed it – Merlot.

He also forgot that even though Cabernet gets all the attention these days, Merlot is the most widely planted grape of Bordeaux. It’s kind of like an insurance policy for the growers. If late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon gets rained out, Merlot ripens earlier and may save the vintage.


Merlot’s roots: France, probably Bordeaux – there’s not a lot of information as to its origins, but records show that it has been cultivated in Bordeaux since at least the late 1700s. While Cabernet-based blends dominate the left bank of the great Gironde river, look to the right bank for Merlot. The most famous right-bank regions are Pomerol and St. Émilion. 

One of the most common questions I hear at seminars and classes is “What’s the difference between Cabernet and Merlot?” It’s a good question because even winemakers often mix up the two in blind tastings. Perhaps that’s the reason they blend so well – they’re similar.

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