I’ve been on a mission to learn more about wines recently. I like try different wines when I go out for meals at restaurants, go to friends and family or buy online or instore. The problem is I don’t always remember what I’ve liked so am trying to make an effort to learn more about specific ones in the hope it will help me chose wisely when I get to enjoy a glass or two on the odd occasion.
Although not a heavy drinker, when I do have a drink I like to have something good. I drink a range of wines from Chablis, Tempranillo, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Grigio and Malbec. Merlot is often a safe option for many. I often hear people asking for a glass or bottle when wining and dining in restaurants. I thought I would look into this popular wine and find out why it’s so popular.
Red wines made from the Merlot grape can vary in taste depending on where in the world it has been grown and whether it has been blended with grapes from different locations.
Wine Tasting Evening, The Plan!
I’m hoping to have a tasting evening with friends where we can do a little wine tasting, all in the name of research of course. The plan – to compare a few Merlot wines from around the world, from both cool and warm climates. Fortunately I can find both at Rude wines. Prices for Merlot start from £6.99 so it doesn’t have to be an expensive evening. Feel like joining me and doing the same with your friends? You can asks guests to bring a bottle from a specific area so there is no overlap. The Rude Wine website will prove useful for this.
(Photo credit: Pixabay)
Of course no wine tasting will be complete without some great snacks to enjoy too such as my tasty Summer Rolls which are light and super healthy. I also love to have a selection of gorgeous Greek olives, a couple of ramekins filled with nuts and a range of delicious cheeses such as those available at Tesco. Crisps such as the Walkers Sensations sweet chilli crisps are great for these sorts of events (Asda £1.00)
Facts About Merlot
I have done a little research into these lovely wines that friends will be enjoying on our fun filled wine themed evening.
Did you know:
Merlot is the Second Most Planted Grape Variety in the World
657,300 acres or 266,000 hectares of Merlot are planted around the world. Clearly very popular as it’s an easy to drink wine. I’d like to try Domaine Lauriga Merlot 2016 from the Languedoc-Roussillon area of France. It’s on offer at £8.99, trust me to find a bargain. It sounds like a good single variety Merlot to enjoy with its juicy flavours of plums and damsons.
Merlot is Generally Soft & Fruity, Perfect For Parties
If you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing wine for a party or celebration, you can’t go far wrong with a warm climate Merlot. Merlots tend to be medium-bodied (not too heavy), made from juicy fruit and with soft tannins making it easy to drink. If we want to try a classic rich Merlot then Klippenkop Merlot 2017, Robertson £6.99 should work well. The wine is full of ripe plum and Morello cherry notes brought together by a lush, velvety texture with a hint of sweet spice on the finish. It seems like the perfect Merlot for a wine tasting evening.
(Photo credit: Unsplash)
It’s One of the Main Ingredients in Bordeaux Wines
Merlot has been grown in the Bordeaux region of France for centuries and is used in the classic blend for Bordeaux (or Claret) wines. It is usually blended with other varieties namely Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. This grape brings a plummy character and softness to the wines. The other varieties bring perfume and structure to these blended wines meaning they have great ageing potential in the bottle. Those that prefer easier drinking, softer wines will be interested to hear that some of the best Merlot dominated wines are produced in Saint-Emilionas. An example that works well with its blackberry, liquorice, and vanilla notes is Chateau de Brens Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 2012. Again well priced. It’s on offer with 20% off at just £16.96 at Rude wines whose seem to have the lowest price I could find online. In fact their normal price is less than some other companies which was interesting. Clearly I know where my friends and I will be getting in our supplies.
Wines Made Mainly from Merlot Tend to be Drunk Young
The Merlot grape tends to produce wines with high alcohol and low acidity so it doesn’t tend to last too long or improve for many years in the bottle. A good example of one that is great to drink now is Chateau L’Enclos Pomerol, 2014. It is a blend of 85% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec and should cost no more than £34.50. Only 2000 cases of this wine are made and it tends to be snapped up by Merlot-loving claret lovers around the world. This is perfect for those that fancy something really special.
The Tell Tale Flavour is of Plums
A blind tasting could be fun to do during our evening. The question to be “Is this a Merlot?” The best way to tell is from the flavour. Wines with a strong flavour of plums are made with Merlot grapes. A great example of a particularly plummy Merlot, El Circo Merlot (£6.99) from the Carinena region of Spain. This wine is very easy to drink and at that price I see my cellar being cleared before I make an order.
Whose up for a wine tasting evening????
So there you have it some great tips on hosting a Merlot wine tasting evening and also some interesting facts to share with friends.
Do you ever have tasting evenings with friends at home with foods or drinks (with or without alcohol)?
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