The Merlot grape can produce some of the finest reds in the world. Lighter in body, with a plummy fruit flavour, it is a soft and pleasant red that can complement many food dishes. Because it is rarely found at its peak potential – the grape can prove tricky to cultivate – it is often blended with other grapes like the Cabernet Sauvignon to give it structure.
Along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot grapes are some of the most widely planted around the globe; although the vast majority of Merlot grapes are planted in France. It ripens quite early in the season, and therefore it is much softer and smoother than many other highly tannic grapes.
Known as a very drinkable red wine, a pure Merlot can sometimes be seen as weak and without much backbone, especially those grown in warm climates. When the grape finds ideal growing conditions however, it is widely accepted as some of the best red wine on earth.
A good Merlot is smooth and well-rounded, with moderate acidity. It’s drinkability and availability make it one of the most popular grapes in red wine.
I suggest trying this one out, simply because it is a great example of a pure Merlot. It may be from the Napa Valley, but it is quite fruity and subtle and it tastes like a smooth French Merlot.
Swanson 2008 Oakville Merlot