Merlot enjoys the reputation of a softer, fruitier, more accessible alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon while retaining the same general characteristics.
Native to the Bordeaux region of southwestern France, it is now planted worldwide and along with Cabernet Sauvignon, is one of the world’s most popular red wines.
Generally medium bodied with lush flavors of cherry and plum as well as mild herbaceous aromas, Merlot is a crowd-pleaser due to its velvety soft texture and generous fruitiness. New World examples often have toasted vanilla or mocha aromas from oak barrel aging.
Casual meals or light appetizers.
Savory stews, braised meats, and herb or mushroom sauces.
California and Washington (fuller-bodied)
Steaks and beef dishes.
Everyday dishes including pizza, hamburgers, sloppy joes, barbequed ribs, tacos, and chicken.
Chile and Argentina (medium-bodied)
Chicken or pork.
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The information presented here is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2023.