Merlot

Origins       

  • Bordeaux region. Known by 18thC
  • Now much more widely planted in Bordeaux than Cabernet Sauvignon

Characteristics   

  • Productive - high yielding …but early budding, so vulnerable to frost (e.g. 1956)
  • In comparison to Cabernet Sauvignon: higher sugars and appealing fruitiness; lower tannins (so can be enjoyed sooner); lower acidity (ditto, but danger of being soft and flabby); slightly higher alcohol; fruit quality - plums?        

Vinification / Maturation

Similar to Cabernet Sauvignon. Also takes to oak

Homeland       

The Libournais = right bank in Bordeaux, St. Emilion and Pomerol

  • Enjoys damper, clay soils
  • Usually around 2/3 of blend in right bank wines
  • Summit: Pomerols such as Pétrus and Le Pin

Also to be found in…

  • France: throughout Bordeaux satellites e.g. Cotes de Duras, Bergerac; Languedoc, as Vin de Pays
  • Italy: throughout north, esp. N.E. Can be dilute and dull
  • US:   California and Washington State
  • South Africa: often seem more as a  blending agent
  • New Zealand: some success in North Island

 

 

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