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Merlot, a deep wine enjoyed by many, has a rich history of production and many interesting details. The name comes from the French word for blackbird, although it is unclear if that has more to do with the color of the bird or their fondness for the Merlot grape. Merlot is high in sugar but low in acidity and is therefore often paired with many foods, and can be blended with other wines accordingly to allow for better pairing with specific meals. Merlot grapes, which are thin skinned, making them more easily produced into wine, can grow in both cooler climates and warmer regions. The grape is well known for its French origins but is also grown elsewhere in Europe, in the US (most notably in California and the Finger Lakes) and also in Latin America and New Zealand.

These sweet wine grapes are traced back hundreds of years to the 1700s. It is said that Merlot wines, crafted form the round and puffy grapes have a flavor of mixed berries and jams. Flavor depends on how long the grapes are ripened in their large loose bunches with broad, oddly shaped leaves. Merlot grapes ripen earlier than many other wine grapes and have the frightening ability to become too ripe very quickly, although the best harvesting time for merlot grapes is still uncertain. No matter the diner’s pleasure, these grapes lead to wine that pair well with meat and fish and blend well with other tastes such as the later-harvested, higher tannin contented Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tell us what dish you enjoy with Merlot in the comment section below.