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Merlot

The Merlot grape variety is one of the great stars of international winemaking. With ancient and obscure origins, especially in the Bordeaux area, today it is cultivated and spread all over the world. Its success is attributable to its extraordinary adaptability and resistance, as well as the velvety smoothness of the flavours it produces, both as a "solo" grape and in combination with its inseparable companion Cabernet Sauvignon, with which it creates the famous Bordeaux blend. Vinified in purity and often aged in barriques, it gives great results: well-structured, round and full-bodied reds, characterised by scents of red fruits and deep, spiced aromas, marked by an unique elegance and an incredible taste-olfactory persistence.

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The Merlot grape variety is one of the great stars of international winemaking. With ancient and obscure origins, especially in the Bordeaux area, today it is cultivated and spread all over the world. Its success is attributable to its extraordinary adaptability and resistance, as well as the velvety smoothness of the flavours it produces, both as a "solo" grape and in combination with its inseparable companion Cabernet Sauvignon, with which it creates the famous Bordeaux blend. Vinified in purity and often aged in barriques, it gives great results: well-structured, round and full-bodied reds, characterised by scents of red fruits and deep, spiced aromas, marked by an unique elegance and an incredible taste-olfactory persistence.

The Origins and Spread of Merlot

This is an international black grape variety named after the blackbird, locally known as 'merle', which often would drink the nectar of the grapes. Although its origins are unknown and shrouded in mystery, this vine has been cultivated for several centuries in Gironde, in the south-west of France, specifically in the famous Bordeaux area. The earliest records date back to 1700, but its first official appearance was in the mid-1800s in a French document detailing its noble qualities of smoothness and roundness.

It was precisely because of these unique characteristics that Merlot wine was blended with the robust and long-lived Cabernet Sauvignon and the fruity, vegetal Cabernet Franc, giving rise to the "Bordeaux blend", resulting in the most noble and sought-after bottles in the world.

In the same period, the first appearance in Italy in the Veneto region is documented, and it is precisely the School of Viticulture and Enology of Conegliano that provides a detailed description of its characteristics for the first time. In a short time, given its easy adaptability and great resistance, it spread like wildfire in central and northern Italy, first in Friuli and then in Piedmont, Trentino-South Tyrol, Tuscany and Lombardy. It soon reached Sicily and was also exported across the border to Eastern Europe. As a result of its success, in a few decades it arrived overseas, in the United States, South America and in the new world, Australia and New Zealand.


The Most Famous Production Areas

The birthplace of this wine is the French territory of Bordeaux, and its most famous and celebrated versions come from its smallest denomination, Pomerol, where pure Merlot gives rise to masterpieces of great elegance and finesse, of extraordinary class and personality. Pomerol is a small, highly contested area that has many crus and measures around 12 square kilometres divided between 150 producers. In the central area, the soil is dominated by clay and sand, and proceeding towards the south, the terrain is stony, full of pebbles and light-coloured stones, known as 'graves'. It is here, on the Petrus hill, that the most famous and expensive red wine in the world is born: Chateau Petrus.

In Italy, this grape has found great success in the northern regions, as well as in Tuscany and Sicily. In Friuli, more precisely in the Colli Orientali area, it is often vinified on its own with very good results. It is influenced by the mountain climate of the area and offers fresher and more delicate expressions, with fruity and spiced scents, often refined only in steel. Also worth mentioning is the Merlot Veneto which, without the addition of other grapes, is able to offer more intense and complex interpretations, with pleasant notes of berries and mineral tones.

A region that should certainly be mentioned is Tuscany, where in the Bolgheri area it has carved out a very successful place for itself and has given rise to wines that are soft and full-bodied, structured and enveloping, as in the case of the prestigious Masseto of the Ornellaia Masseto estate, which is one of the most precious and great expressions of Italian winemaking. Finally, in Sicily, Merlot red wine takes on a Mediterranean character, shedding its soft envelopment and acquiring savouriness, warmth and fullness of flavour.

Interesting wines are also being produced in the rest of the world, such as in America and Australia, where attempts are being made to mimic the French model and achieve the same quality levels, although there is certainly a long way to go.

On Callmewine you can find a wide selection of the best Merlot DOC wines complete with detailed descriptions, food pairings and characteristics. Find the most suitable bottles for your dinner and buy them at the best prices on Callmewine's online wine shop.