Merlot is red wine royalty - meaning 'the little blackbird' in French, this perfectly pairs with - and enhances - the cuisine on many dinner tables around the world.
Whether you're in search of a rich oak-filled glass or a velvety feel, Merlot is totally adored for being a delicious wine you can rely on to amaze your taste buds.
We want to help you explore the Barefoot Merlot wine story so you can better understand what goes into every bottle - and make the next one you share with your BFFs even more special.
What is Merlot?
Merlot is one of the world's most popular wines - a red bursting with juicy dark fruit notes. Its popularity means you're sure to find bottles of this medium-bodied, dry wine filling the shelves of your local store or at the table in your fave restaurant.
Where is Merlot from?
These days Merlot is an international superstar, growing in a variety of climates across the globe - but this decadent wine originates from the Right Bank hills of Bordeaux, France. Its history dates all the way back to the 1700s where it was first admired as a fantastic blending wine - this is due to Merlot's notorious ability to soften stronger reds.
Merlot came to be a single variant wine thanks to its migration to the USA. Despite its French roots, it took Californian winemakers to see the potential for this to be in a class of its own and the first production of Merlot as a single variety wine came from Barefoot’s very own Golden State. Of course, it was after this that the rest of the world realised its potential and followed the lead of Merlot's Californian pioneers.
The Merlot wine taste
Due to the fact that its grapes can grow and thrive in a number of different climates, the taste of this popular red can vary - making Merlot an exciting and versatile wine.
The characteristics of a Merlot include distinctive red fruits and a soft finish but the aromas and taste of the wine you sip will rely on the climate in which the grape is grown.
If your bottle of Merlot originates from a cooler climate (produced in Europe - France or Italy, or even Chilean Merlot) then you'll likely discover a bright, full-bodied red with a strong structure and earthy tones.
Alternatively, a Merlot originating from a warmer climate like Barefoot’s Merlot from California will present with more fruit and less tannin than those made in cooler climates.
Of course, expert winemakers hone the taste and quality of their wine through the winemaking process and important touches such as oak treatment.
Merlot grapes are dark blue in colour and are the most planted variety in the whole of France. Indeed, this luscious grape gains popularity across the world year on year.
Merlot’s success is largely down to the fact that it's made from juicy, versatile grapes which are incredibly adaptable to a range of conditions. You'll discover Merlot vines everywhere from France and Italy to the USA, Australia and Argentina. A big advantage for Merlot winemakers is that the Merlot grape ripens around two weeks faster than Cabernet making this grape a real red wine heavyweight.
Is Merlot sweet?
While Merlot famously boasts delicious notes of cherry and plum, it is usually a dry red wine, not a sweet one. Though, depending on how it’s made, it can be a little sweeter than other reds, such as Cabernet Sauvignon - but it is still dry. Merlot also has lower tannin levels than some other red wine varieties and can have a slightly milder flavour depending on where it's been produced.
Delicious Barefoot Merlot wine is produced in sunny California and is an award-winning dark, rich and full-bodied extravaganza. It's packed full of flavour, including notes of juicy plums, indulgent black cherries and elegant touches of vanilla oak and chocolate. It's a red wine revelation and a true fan favourite! Ideal for all occasions, but perfect for cosying up next to a roaring fire on a winter's evening with bae and besties alike.
What should I eat with Merlot?
The soft texture and rich flavours in every glass of Merlot means it’s the perfect match for a wide range of dishes. Merlot is positioned perfectly in the middle of the red wine line up, making it a food-pairing wonder - you'll be hard pressed to find a food pairing that doesn't work. The key to hitting on the ideal combination is balancing the intense flavours of the wine with the flavours of the dish.
A full-bodied Merlot wine will pair excellently with:
- Rich red meats such as beef or lamb
- Hearty meat or bean stews
- Strongly-spiced dishes
A medium-bodied Merlot will make the ideal partner to:
- Baked pastas
- Beef burgers with cheese
- Spiced bean and rice dishes
Lighter-bodied Merlots offer hints of summer and tend to go with:
- Lighter, white meats
- Fresh pasta
- Charcuterie and antipasti boards
- Salads and grilled vegetables
This nifty red truly stands up to an array of flavours. From its French origins to its Californian reimagining, Merlot is a ruby red wonder. It's perfect both on a summer's evening with besties tucking into an Italian feast, and on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of winter with a joint of roast beef and crispy roasted potatoes. So, settle in and enjoy a glass of a popular, fan favourite Barefoot Merlot.