Merlot is one of the world’s most popular grapes for red wines. Red fruits, juicy, easy tannins and a soft finish are the characteristics of Merlot wine. But there’s more to the style than just being smooth and approachable; it’s made from red-skinned grapes that can adapt to a variety of climates, to produce food-friendly wines in many price points. Merlot can be light and fruity, velvety and plummy, or rich and oaky. There’s something for everyone, which is why it is so desired.
Typically, Merlot is a dry, medium- to full-bodied red wine. The best Merlot wine has a range of flavours, ranging from graphite, herbs and blackberries, to black cherries, plums, and cocoa, often layered with notes of clove, vanilla, and cedar when aged in oak.
Merlot has made his reputation in the South West of France in Bordeaux, where it can be made as a single variety, like in Saint-Emilion or Pomerol, but is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon as a Bordeaux blend. Popular all around the world, Merlot has also built a reputation in the New World, especially here in New Zealand.
In New Zealand, Merlot has found a home in Hawke's Bay where it produces outstanding wines and some of the best value red wine of the country like at Alpha Domus, Craggy Range, Paritua. Merlot is also well made in Auckland and Waiheke Island, where it produces riper and full bodied red wines, known to be part of some of the most prestigious Bordeaux blends, like Stonyridge Larose, Destiny Bay, Te Motu and Providence.