No. 2 Merlot Wine Grapes – Top 5 red wine grapes of 2014
Continuing our five part mini blog series on the most planted, and therefore the most popular grapes of the coming year, at number two we have Merlot vines with 263,000 hectares planted worldwide.
Merlot – 243,000 hectares worldwide
Following Cabernet Sauvignon from last week, at no. two is the almost as famous Merlot. Merlot is French for blackbird and is so called due to the wine grapes extremely dark blue colour. Merlot is used to produce two main styles of wine. The new world variety is an inky dark wine, high in acidity and full in body. This characteristic is attained via a late harvest creating a wine with a high alcohol by volume (ABV), tannins are like velvet accompanied by intense plum and blackberry notes. The second “Bordeaux” style is due to the berry’s earlier harvest, creating a wine with a more medium body, a moderate ABV and fresh, red fruit flavours.
As a varietal, Merlot is a soft, velvety wine with fruit flavours likened to cherries, cassis, plum, a further delve into the flavour complexity may conjure vegetable notes of olive, bell pepper, fennel and earth fresh mushroom. Merlot is also known to produce herbal flavours of eucalyptus, mint, oregano and rosemary – quite the taste experience in a glass!
Much like Cabernet Sauvignon different countries produce different Merlot: Californian Merlot taste of black fruit, like cherries and black raspberries, whilst an Italian Merlot produces a lighter-bodied wine punctuated with herbal notes.
Merlot is often blended and makes up 20% of a Bordeaux, but makes up almost all of the luxurious Chateau Petrus and 80% of the Pomerol and Saint Emillion blends.
High Street find – Aldi’s Domaine Lou Frejau Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2012 at £14.99 a bottle.
Next week, join us again to find out what the third top red wine varietal of 2014 is.