Red wine is a drink that has been enjoyed by people of various cultures for thousands of years. Made from a variety of grapes, it obtains its color or shades of red and even dark purple, during the fermenting process from the skin mixing with the juice.
Red wines come in varietals and bodies. Varietal is just a word to describe the various wines that are obtained from specific varieties of grapes. Examples of varietal styles include: Merlot, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Bodies are classified as light, medium, and full. Also, wines are characterized by the amount of tannins.
Tannin refers to the “pucker power,” and its flavor comes from seeds, skin, and the stems. Often you will find that the tannins are stronger in younger examples.
Merlot can be considered medium or full bodied and has smooth tannins. This beverage will also have a dry taste and unlike most wines, Merlot is best when it’s young, rather than aging for some time. A typical example will have grape scent to it, accompanied with a floral presence.
Some various flavors of include: cedar, green olive, tobacco, black pepper, mint, ect. The fruits can range from cherries, plum, raspberries, and black berries.
Merlot comes from Berdou, a region located in France. It is now grown all throughout the world. In American, it is grown in Washington, Texas, and California. Australia, France, and South America are all areas where this style is grown and is quite popular in most locations across the globe.
When it comes to making Merlot, the grapes ripen much quicker than you would find for other wines. They are hand or machine picked and then fermented in wooden casks or in tanks.
The fermentation can last anywhere from 7 to 18 days. After this, the liquid is stored in oak barrels or chips. This is where the drink will age. Depending on who is making the drink, typical aging is from 6 months to 18 months.
Finally, the beverage is bottled.
When serving Merlot, there are several things to keep in mind. First, one of the best parings with this red wine is with lamb or, some other type of red meat. You will want to serve it at a temperature just below room temperature, usually around 56°-58°F.
Next, you will want to decant the bottle, which simply means pouring the liquid into a decanter or a large glass (see image). Wait about 15 minutes before pouring the beverage into a glass, one that is deep and wide, with a rim that is slightly smaller.
Make sure the glass is only about 1/3 full, swirl the drink, holding it by the stem so that the heat from your hand does not warm the liquid. Be sure to first take a small sip and hold in your mouth for a few seconds.
If for some reason you spill your drink, there are several ways to remove the stain but, washing it first with white wine will neutralize the red, and take most of that stain out. Follow up with soaking it with some club soda.
Red wines, like Merlot, are said to be good for your overall heath, as they provide high amounts of antioxidants. If drunk in moderation, about a glass per day is said to help with protecting against certain cancers, heart disease, and positively affecting a person’s blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Another great thing about this style is that you can enjoy it on any budget. If you are looking for a high end, expensive Merlot, for about $200, you might want to try the 2010 Old Oak Merlot; it has a very complex flavor with hint of blackberry, vanilla, and cherry.
It’s sweet but not too sweet making it a perfect drink to serve with food. The reviewers on Amazon have nothing but praise for it. Moreover, this wine is eligible for 1 cent shipping from the big A.
For a great example priced around $25, the 2010 Naked Winery Merlot is recommended.
It has a nice medium body with earthy black cherries and plum tones. It’s soft tannins make for a drink with absolutely no bitterness and it’s slightly sweeter taste makes it the perfect desert beverage. You can watch a video about this vintage at the link below.
For the less expensive examples, you might want to avoid ones that do not provide a cork but, a twist off cap. These tend to give the drinker a hangover more often. Enjoy your Merlot in moderation.
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!