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Wine 101: Merlot

Though it’s taken some abuse in the wake of the film Sideways, Merlot remains a classic grape that produces delicious wines. The most widely planted grape in France’s Bordeaux region isn’t Cabernet Sauvignon; it’s Merlot.

Good Merlots are made in France, Italy, Chile, the United States and Australia, and all of them tend to share supple, velvety tannins and round black cherry or plum flavors. Merlot pairs beautifully with many foods—try it with pâtés or other charcuterie, pork or veal roasts, rich, cheesy gratins and even hamburgers. That’s because Merlot blends so well with other grapes, and also because of its fruity, easy-drinking character.

Lively, Fruity Merlot

Grilled Beef with Sesame Dressing

Top Bottles

  • Falesco (Italy)
  • Columbia Crest Grand Estates (Washington State)
  • Blackstone Winery (California)

Recipe Pairings

Deep, Velvety Merlot

Scallion-and-Brie-Stuffed Burgers

Top Bottles

  • Paloma Vineyard (California)
  • Geyser Peak Winery Shorenstein Vineyard (California)
  • Pepper Bridge Winery (Washington State)
  • Shafer (California)

Recipe Pairings

More Expert Wine Advice

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