PLACE OF ORIGIN
Cabernet Franc x
Magdeleine Noire des Charentes
IN THE VINEYARD
Photo Courtesy of Wine Grapes Direct
OTHER MERLOT WINES
Merlot is commonly blended with other varieties, and as such, may not always be labeled.
The following are known for including Merlot:
Bordeaux is a region in France that is known for blends with Merlot. "Right Bank" wines such as St. Emilion and Pomerol are typically Merlot dominant.
Meritage is a term created in California for Bordeaux style wines. The blends may only include Bordeaux varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
Merlot is a popular blending partner due to its soft, lush palate, fruit forward notes, and velvety tannins. Oak treatment is very common for Merlot, adding secondary notes of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, baking spices, and more to the wines.
Merlot grown in a moderate climate typically exhibit these characteristics:
Moderate to Full
Lean to Round
Merlot grown in a warm climate typically exhibit these characteristics:
COMMON WINEMAKING TECHNIQUES
NEW OAK CONTACT:
Often in the form of a barrel, however, oak chips may be used to recreate the effect of using barrels in a fraction of the time and cost. This contact can occur during fermentation and/or aging. The higher the char on the oak, the more flavor imparted into the wine. These flavors often consist of smoke, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, baking spices, and more.
IMPORTANT MERLOT CLONES (A-Z)
Sourced from the Inglenook Vineyard in Napa Valley. More resistant to harsh winters.
Sourced from the Inglenook Vineyard in Napa Valley. Larger berries and clusters. Produces consistent ripening and yields in vineyards with limited water availability. Thrives in rocky, mountain vineyards.
A clone gaining traction in Australia. Originating in Mendoza, Argentina. Earlier ripening with moderate yields.
A low-yielding clone originating in France that is prone to lower sugar, higher acidity, and higher extract levels. Known for producing age worthy wines.
A higher yielding clone with high anthocyanins originating in France. Performs well in warmer climates and exhibits blue fruited characteristics. Also known as FPS 14.
The most planted clone in Australia. Arrived from UC Davis in 1965 and thought to be originally from the Inglenook Vineyard in Napa Valley, although origins are unknown. A finicky clone that needs attention to perform and produce quality wines.