Almost like the weather in May, Merlot has a reputation for being mellow. And with mellow, we mean accessible. Of course not all Merlots are the same, but in general, there is something safe about choosing a Merlot. You are pretty much guaranteed that it will be friendly and fun. Why is that? Is this friendliness a property of the Merlot grape, the way the wine is made or perhaps something that is all in our minds?
Leopard’s Leap winemaker, Renier van Deventer, explains: “Merlot is often perceived to be sweet and fruity and that is because its fruit flavours are attractive and approachable – think ripe plum and pretty blackberries. It is also often described as ‘creamy’.”
Well that makes sense then, what is not to like about fruit and cream? But despite its friendly face, Merlot is slightly more complicated than a fruit smoothie. It usually has exceptional balance – something that is in its DNA – and that makes the difference. In a balanced wine, tannin and fruit live in harmony – Merlot’s secret for keeping its fans happy.
Merlot’s friendly character and balanced approach makes it very skillful when it comes to mingling! Therefore it is an exceptional and popular blending partner to other wines. In addition, Merlot develops quicker than some other wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, for instance. This means that Merlot is accessible at an earlier stage.
Life is full of complications and challenges and that is why we need our wine to be kind and generous!
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