A member of the Bordeaux family, Merlot, in constrast to Cabernet Sauvignon, is soft, fruity, fleshy, and less tannic. It's the principal grape variety in the wines of St Emilion and Pomerol, and is often blended with Cabernet Franc. These Bordeaux wines are much more accessible when young, but they invariably age quickly, creating a supple, smooth, and velvety texture. Merlot is the most planted grape variety in Boredeaux.
Its characteristics tend to lean towards plum, blachberry, fruitcake, and currantly tones, In cooler climates, such as northern Italy, grass notes are evident, Due to its softness and moderate tannins, Merlot, which has a natural affinity with oak, is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon.
A grape which thrives on clay and limestone-based soils, it is all the range in California and Chile, where rich, even chocolaty Merlots are mede. The dense Merlots of California can be extremely good and again can provide perfect blending material for Cabernet, as seen in the Mondavi-Rothschild icon wine, Opus One. The relatively cool climate of New Zealand enables Merlot, in good vintages, to obtain excellent balance between fruit and acidity. In contrast, Australia's warmer vineyards are not necessarily ideal, as acidity cand sometimes be found wanting, making 'cooler' Coonawarra and Western Australia more favourable locations.
Bordeaux (Sr Emilion and Pomerol), Australia, Chile, Southern France, New Zealand, South Africa, California, and Washington State.
One of the word's most popular black grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon's deep colour, blackcurrant aroma and flavour is the backbone of many is the backbone of many full-bodid red wines.
A difficult 'customer' described by one well-known winemaker as a 'moving target of a grape variety', on top form Pinot Noir can make the most complex and hedonistic of red wines. Pinot Noir has fewer colouring pigments than other dark-skinned varieties, so it can appear to be lighter or more aged, when compared to wines such and almost inky on occasions.
The Hill of Hermitage and vineyards steeply overlooking the Rhône provide the home of Syrah and one of the most famous place names associated with this great grape variety. Hermitage, Cornas and Côte Rôtie are full-bodied red wines, while Crozes Hermitage and St Jopeph are generally a touch lighter. Syrah is a hardy grape, growing well in poor soil, such as the
An extremely versatile variety of grapes, Chenin Blanc is capable of making dry and crisp white wines that are great as an aperitif, through to medium, unctuous and sweet styles. Due to the keeen and vibrant acidity often found in Chenin Blanc grape, they make brilliant food wines and can stay in good shape for many years after the vitange.