Merlot is a variety of grape which is known as a close cousin of Cabernet Sauvignon.
It is used to make red wines, which are very famous in the wine lovers' fraternity. It has low tannins and produces fast matured and soft textured wines. It is often mingled with Cabernet Sauvignon to soften the taste. Wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon are generally very soft, smooth for throat and rich in taste.
On the contrary, wines made from Merlot are very dry but thin in texture and not very soothing to absorb. Unlike Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot needs cooler places to be matured. As Merlot is very easily affected by fungus and mold diseases, it is very difficult to grow. Merlot grape achieved its first success in the Saint Emilion and Pomerol areas of Bordeaux. The example of Merlot derived wine is Chateau Petrus.
Merlot grape generally has ripe berry element. Merlot wines are generally contained in Bordeaux bottle which is high shouldered. Merlots can be aged for long but generally are ready to absorb in 4 to 8 years.
Usually Merlot should be served little below of room temperature. This is due to the reason that if the temperature reaches 74 degrees Fahrenheit, then the alcohol gets an unpleasant sharp taste and becomes very much pungent. To avoid this problem, Merlot can be stored in refrigerator for 20 to 25 minutes.
In the last decade of 20th century Merlot achieved its fame, this happened due to the Merlot-based Pomerols and Saint Emilions in Bordeaux.
Merlot needs cool, damp, clay soil to be grown. It rips earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Basically Merlot was regarded as a blending grape, but now it has found its place in the upfront of the wine world. It is massively cultivated in East Europe and California. It has also immensely breeds in Chile, where it is the second most popular grape. But it seems that Merlot is mostly honored in California.
It has flavor like bell pepper and blackcurrant and also can be found in chocolate and spicy flavors.
As Merlot has soft texture, which helps it to have a titillating plumy, fruity flavor and very delicate smoothness, it gets more acceptability than Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot is less discrete and little bit flowery in aroma and flavor. Unlike Cabernet Sauvignon, it is not much acidic. So it is more tasteful.