• France: Bordeaux, Languedoc – Roussillon
  • Italy: Friuli – Venezia Giulia
  • USA: Sonoma, Napa Valley, Long Island
  • Australia: Barossa, Margaret River
  • Chile: Maipo, Colchaguia Province
  • Other: Hungary, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Croatia


  • Merlot is approachable and liked by most people for its fruity notes and balanced acidity and although it is easy to drink, its alcohol levels can reach 15% so don’t get too carried away.


  • Decanting up to 2 hours and up to 30 minutes for wines aged 20 years or more
  • 16 – 18 °C (60 – 65 °F)
  • Bordeaux glass


  • Steak, grilled or roasted meat and vegetables, burgers, pasta and meatballs, rustic dishes, rich food with creamy, buttery sauces, thyme, rosemary
  • Camembert, Brie, Gouda, Gruyere, Monterey Jack, Parmesan, Cheddar

Merlot is one of the most planted grapes in the world which originates from Bordeaux in France. Merlot is a crossing between Cabernet Franc and Magdeleine Noire des Charentes. It is a grape with thin skins which produces wines with soft tannins, full body and medium acidity. It is often used in blends especially to add body. Main blending grapes are Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Merlot is also produced as a varietal wine which can reach quite high alcohol levels of up to 15%, especially in warmer climates like the United States and Australia. Such wines have more of an international style which are very fruit forward and full bodied but with soft tannins which makes them very approachable.

Cooler climate Merlot such as the ones in Bordeaux (right bank) tend to have lower alcohol levels of around 13%, are more acidic and have red fruit notes. Unlike Cabernet Sauvignon which is the dominant grape of Bordeaux’s left bank, Merlot is the main grape of the right bank. Regions like Pomerol are known for their prestigious and expensive Merlot wines.

Merlot is a very popular wine that is easy to drink because of it’s soft tannins and is enjoyed by a wide audience. This wine can also be paired with many types of food from a rustic dinner to roasted lamb with thyme and rosemary.

Merlot regions

Bordeaux Right Bank

Bordeaux, Right bank

  • Bordeaux right bank = Merlot dominant grape
  • Right bank estates are usually much smaller than the Left bank ones.
  • Major appellations:
    • Pomerol
    • St. Emilion
  • Right bank wine classifications – St. Emilion Classification:
    • Started in 1955, revised every 10 years, Châteaux are judged based on a wine tasting of their last 10 vintages and not based on price like the left bank 1855 Classification does.
    • Wines are then classified as either Premier Grand Cru Classé (with sub-groups A and B) and Grand Cru Classé.
    • There is also another category called Grand Cru however despite the name, it does not indicate great quality, this name is given to any wine that qualifies under the regulations of the appellation. The quality of a Grand Cru does not compare with the above mentioned categories which are significantly better.
    • The last classification which took place in 2006 ended up being considered invalid following some legal issues surrounding certain judges, as a result the 1996 classification had been reinstated that year.
  • Pomerol has never had a classification however there are a couple of very well known Chateaux:
    • Chateau Pétrus
    • Chateau Lafleur
    • Vieux Château Certan
    • Chateau le Gay
    • Le Pin
    • Chateau l’Eglise-Clinet
    • Chateau Nenin
    • Chateau la Fleur – Pétrus
    • Chateau la Conseillante
  • Outstanding vintages (right bank): 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016

United States

  • California:
    • Second most planted grape
    • Regions – Napa, Sonoma, Monterey
    • Style – warmer climate style, ranges from very fruity, cheap to more complex, aged wines
    • Sonoma is a slightly cooler climate which produces wines that are not as rich or fruity as Napa Valley’s wines
    • which are more Bordeaux resembling
  • Washington:
    • Regions – Columbia Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain
    • Style – combines Old world with New world styles, fruity, acidic but with some tannin due to the climate which is warm during the days but cool during the nights
  • Outstanding vintages: 2006, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Bordeaux, france, wine, red wine, french wine, st emilion, saint emilion, graves, 1855 classification, grand cru, grands crus, bordeaux classification

Château de l’Annonciation

Saint-Émilion, 2014

  • Country and region: France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Saint-Emilion
  • Producer: Château de l’Annonciation
  • Blend: 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc
  • Alcohol content: 13%
  • Tasting notes: dark and red fruit, strawberries, dark cherries, spice, leather, oak, rich, fine tannins, well balanced, medium acidity