Merlot is one of the main components in a Bordeaux blend, with the other two major varieties being Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. I’ve covered Cabernet Sauvignon in a previous summer sips blog, so please read that one as well as this blog article. Cabernet Sauvignon is more structured with higher tannins and usually less juicy fruit flavours. Merlot, when blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, adds that juicy, fruit, round mouth component. But Merlot is also wonderful on it’s own.
Merlot typically shows blackberry, plum and berry fruit flavours. If very ripe, Merlot may have fruitcake flavours. It is generally lower in tannins, making it a versatile wine to enjoy with various foods. Oak aging adds additional complexity to the wine. If you like cheese, try some Merlot with brie or medium cheddar.
Checking with the www.everythingwine.ca website, I located the following BC Merlots in the $15-$25 range:
Merlot is a popular grape in the BC Okanagan, according to the last factsheet put out by the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. Some BC Merlot that I’ve enjoyed:
Lulu Island Winery Merlot 2008: Deep purple colour. Oak, vanilla, black plum aromas. Medium body, smooth, plum and cherry fruit flavours. Medium tannins.
Stonehill Estate Winery Merlot 2006: Earthy,herbal and dark fruit aromas. Plums and spice on the palate. Soft tannins.
Poplar Grove Merlot 2005: Double Gold @ Canadian Wine Awards. Light garnet in colour. Cherry, cassis and leather nose. Big cherry flavour with some vanilla. Medium tannin and length.
Township 7 Merlot 2006: Medium garnet colour. Plum, black cherry, capsicum and vanilla on the nose. Medium body with cherry and light milk chocolate flavour. ( I really like this one. Tried it last July 2010.)
Neck of the Woods Merlot 2006: Medium garnet. Red cherry, cloves and vanilla aromas. Medium body. Full cherry flavour with vanilla and slight spice. Firm tannins.
Hope you get a chance to get outdoors these next few days and enjoy the summer before it’s gone. And enjoy it with a bottle of Merlot. Cheers.