Drinking and Pairing Merlot with Food

Merlot is the most-planted red grape in Bordeaux where it is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. It is especially important on the right bank of Bordeaux, where it is typically the majority component in St-Émilion and Pomerol. Merlot is found as a varietal wine in Italy's Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, California, Washington, and other parts of the New World. Compared to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot has softer tannins and rounder, plummier fruit with notes of black olives and fresh herbs. It is medium-red in color, more fruit-forward, and earlier drinking than Cabernet Sauvignon.

Merlot's higher acidity and lighter body make it a flexible food wine, and while it can be paired with many of the same foods as Cabernet Sauvignon, it will also pair well with dark fish dishes such as salmon and tuna, especially when grilled or smoked and garnished with olives, mushrooms, and herbs.

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Merlot pairs well with:

Legumes

Beans/Legumes

British cuisine

Foods cooked via Braise/Soup/Stew

Savory dishes