Concha y Toro

Francisca Jara 07/11/2022

All about wine

5 things you didn’t know about Merlot

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Because every November 7th we celebrate International Merlot Day, we invite you to toast with this velvety and elegant red grape variety, while we tell you five curiosities about it.

It is the sister variety of Cabernet Sauvignon

While Cabernet Sauvignon is the product of crossing Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot is the result of the varieties Cabernet Franc and Magdeleine Noire des Chanterents. For this reason, it is said that both red grape varieties are sisters. Thanks to their resemblance, they are often mixed in some of the best blends where the Merlot always provides its characteristic velvety texture, helping to soften the tannin structure of Cabernet. As Gravas Cabernet Sauvignon, a great Cabernet Sauvignon with D.O Puente Alto, whose blend has 4% Merlot, resulting in a wine of great intensity, depth in the palate and a fine texture of velvety tannins.

Its name alludes to a little black bird

Did you know that the word Merlot comes from the Bordeaux dialect “petit oiseau noir”, or “little black bird”- “mirlo” in spanish? Blockbirds are small birds with intense black and blue plumage, which often perch on Merlot berries because they love the sweetness of their grapes. For this reason, this variety was called Merlot Noir. But this is also due to the similarity in the colour of its plumage with blue-black berries, which in the case of Marqués de Casa Concha Merlot give wine a bright, dark and deep red colour, with delicate notes of currant, spices, fruits of the forest and red plum.

It can be found in one of the most expensive wines in the world

When Merlot is grown and vinified correctly, it can produce one of the best wines in the world. This is the case of Petrus, a wine that is made with almost 100% Merlot in the Pomerol wine region, within Bordeaux. Chateau Petrus has only 11.4 hectares, where there is mainly Merlot but also a small percentage of Cabernet Franc that is added to the wine. Believe it or not, a bottle of Chateau Petrus can cost up to $5,000. It’s the most expensive wine in Bordeaux.

It is the second most widely planted grape variety in the world

According to the latest report published by the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), on the distribution of grape varieties around the world, Merlot is the second most planted variety with 266,000 hectares.

Its tannins are velvety

One of the main characteristics of Merlot, if not the most important, is its velvety tannins. The meatiness and opulence that this wine grape delivers is softened by these tannins that transform into wines that are very easy to drink given their low astringency. Casillero del Diablo Merlot, medium-bodied, with friendly tannins, an enveloping texture and a long, pleasant finish, is a great example of what this variety can offer. An elegant wine by all means. Have you already tried it?