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Merlot is a red variety that is loved by consumers, yet often shunned by certain wine gurus and critics, as they perceive these wines as “little sisters” to the more powerful Cabernet Sauvignon. Yet on its own, the best examples of Merlot are multi-layered, complex wines that are among the finest in the world.
Merlot has many similar flavors to Cabernet Sauvignon, especially with its cherry and plum fruit, but is has fewer, less sharp tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon. Many producers whether in Bordeaux, America, Chile or elsewhere, often blend small percentages of Merlot into Cabernet Sauvignon to lessen the tannic bitterness of the latter.
A few districts in France’s Bordeaux region, namely Pomerol, are home to the greatest examples of Merlot. Chateau Petrus is the world’s most famous example of Merlot, a powerful wine that ages beautifully for 30 or 40 years in the best vintages. There are also celebrated examples from American, especially in Washington’s Walla Walla valley as well as in Napa Valley in California. Merlot is also very successful in Chile, New Zealand and even in certain part of Italy.
Merlot pairs best with foods such as lamb or veal, but it also sought out by consumers to accompany steaks and roast when they want a rounder, more elegant red wine.