Spotlight On “The Little Blackbird,” Or Merlot Grape

Classic, easy-drinking Merlot (meaning Little Blackbird in French) is among the two most popular red wines sold in the Western Hemisphere. It’s known for its elegance and soft tannins but is medium-bodied and pithier than a Pinot making it suitable for pairing with all types of food. It’s complex enough to drink on its own as well thanks to the ripeness of the fruit. The best old world Merlot can be found in the French regions of Bordeaux or Languedoc, while new world varieties (harnessing higher alcohol percentages) hail from Australia, Chile, and California’s northern and central coasts. If your eye is frequently turned by a bottle of Merlot’s dark blue mysterious hue, try some of the below selections.

Merlot grape

If accessibility is a priority when searching for a quality wine, don’t feel like you have to settle for less just because it might not be available at your local LCBO. You can now order through retailers like Wine Online and have the bottle of your choice shipped straight to your door, making home delivery the best way to find rare wines in Ontario. Consider the gorgeous Merlot by Estrada Creek, vintage 2013. The coastal Californian influences lead to great flavour development which only becomes more complex with time. This wine is aged in French and American oak barrels for eleven months prior to bottling. Drinkers will sense bundles of black cherry, currant and blackberry fruit on the nose and palate with toasted oak undertones, ending in a pleasant finish.

Searching for something with credentials? Treat yourself to a bottle of the gold medal winning, 95-point bearing Merlot Central Coast by Ryder Estate from California, vintage 2014. This bottle boasts pure red fruit aromas with vibrant black cherry and soft raspberry flavours to follow, which are balanced by a subtle spice and earthy quality. Looking for something to compliment a hearty dinner? Pair this selection with red and cured meats, breads, and roasted vegetables.

Drink

For something truly classic, order from where Merlot was born. The vineyards in Languedoc, such as those planted by Domaine Magellan are aged nearly half a century now; their winemakers are continuously birthing and bottling some of the country’s most trusted Merlot, without over-extracting. The 2016 batch is well-respected; while unoaked it is aged well over twenty months before bottling offering spice and smoke on the nose. There is great richness to this selection, and of course, smooth tannins that accompany any traditional Merlot. Warm yourself up by the fire with a glass from this region without feeling like your palate is being over powered.

Do you love red wine, but prefer something with less intensity than a Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon? Give a bottle of Merlot a try from one of the above regions, particularly if you’re looking for versatility to compliment many different dishes at meal time. Find a Merlot harnessing the sophisticated quality most connoisseurs look for by making sure you also read through each bottle’s profile for descriptors, guaranteeing it’ll give you that soft finish without sacrificing flavour, every time.

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