The name Merlot - possibly the best known grape variety in the world - may derive from the french word for Blackbird - Merle. Whether that's the case or not this dark blue grape is the one behind many fragrant and plummy wines from St Emillion where it's oft blended with Cabernet Franc and Pomerol.
Merlot Wines have become de-rigeur in countless regions, notably in California, Chile and Australia. It rose to prominence in California to such an extent that it did suffer a severe backlash from critics in the 90's as referenced to brilliant comic effect in the excellent film Sideways. Luckily there's been a bit odf a return to form in California of late with the new breed of so called "Rhone Rangers" producing wines inspired by the classic Rhone stylings. Lets enjoy Merlot once more!
The adaptability of the merlot grape is both to it's huge advantage and to it's at times tepid reputation with critics. On it's own it can produce very forgetable wines (although it does constitute the highest varietal ratio in that most expensive of wines - Petrus)
It is definitely as a blending variety that the merlot grape comes in to it's own and it is though to be the 3rd most planted grape world wide. It ripens early which makes it ideal for blending with later ripeners like Cab Sav to add body and softness.
Personally I am a fan of Merlot wines - I like a full but soft red wine and find that a good level of Merlot in a wine ticks most of my boxes. It does need a little more acidity from another variety however but that means that there are plenty to choose from.
At WinedayUk we have well over 200 best merlot wines for you to choose from. These range from inexpensive blended examples to fine wines and almost every country in the wine producing world is represented on these pages.
You can use the hover over feature on the grape variety section to the left of our home page to select wines from 2002 - 2011 or select from price range, retailer or delivery times.