When made right, Merlot has no hard edges. These wines are soft, velvety, and smooth with medium acidity, medium alcohol, and medium tannins. Rich fruit flavors of plums and black cherries are most prominent. Because of its rich flavors and smooth features, Merlot is often blended with bolder varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon to provide balance.
The most complex and age-worthy Merlots come from the Right Bank of Bordeux (look for Pomerol or St. Emilion as the best examples). These wines are approachable young but can age for many years. Warmer climates bring out more of the jammy plum flavors and ripeness. Merlot from California and Washington are great examples.
Pronunciation: mer LOH