Is Merlot a Red Wine?

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, ‘Is Merlot a red wine?‘, you’re not alone. Merlot is one of the most popular wines in the world, and its identity sometimes confuses new wine enthusiasts. So, let’s dive into the delightful world of Merlot and uncover the truth behind this beloved beverage.

What Is Merlot?

Merlot is indeed a red wine, and it’s one of the classic red grape varietals that has been enjoyed for centuries. Originating from the Bordeaux region of France, Merlot has spread its vines across the globe, becoming a favourite in countries such as the United States, Italy, Chile, and Australia.

Is Merlot a Red Wine?

The Grapes Behind the Glass

The name “Merlot” comes from the French word for “little blackbird” (merle), possibly referring to the grape’s deep, dark blue colour. Merlot grapes are known for their soft, velvety texture and their ability to produce a wide range of flavours depending on where they’re grown and how they’re made into wine.

The Flavours of Merlot

One of the reasons Merlot is so adored is its versatility in flavour. When you pour a glass of Merlot, you’re likely to encounter a bouquet of red and black fruits. Common flavour notes include:

  • Black Cherry: A rich, dark sweetness that forms the backbone of many Merlots.
  • Plum: Often adding a juicy, fruity element to the wine.
  • Chocolate: Some Merlots have a delightful hint of cocoa, adding to their complexity.
  • Herbal and Spicy Notes: Depending on the region, you might detect subtle hints of bay leaf, vanilla, or even a touch of mint.

Merlot Styles

Merlot wines can range from light and fruity to rich and full-bodied. Here are some common styles you might encounter:

  • Fruity and Soft: These Merlots are typically easy-drinking with lower tannins, making them perfect for beginners.
  • Rich and Bold: Often aged in oak barrels, these wines have deeper flavours and more structure, appealing to those who enjoy a more complex wine experience.

How to Enjoy Merlot

Merlot is incredibly versatile when it comes to food pairings. Its medium to full body and balanced acidity make it a perfect companion to a variety of dishes. Here are some pairing ideas:

  • Roasted Meats: Think lamb, beef, or pork.
  • Pasta Dishes: Especially those with tomato-based sauces.
  • Cheese: Aged cheeses like cheddar or gouda make a lovely match.
  • Vegetarian Dishes: Mushroom-based dishes or lentil stews.

FAQs About Merlot

Is Merlot Always Red?

Yes, Merlot is a red wine. The grapes used to make Merlot are dark-skinned, which imparts the characteristic red colour to the wine. While there are white and rosé wines made from red grapes through different winemaking processes, a wine labelled “Merlot” will always be red.

How Should I Serve Merlot?

Merlot is best served slightly below room temperature, around 15-18°C (59-64°F). This temperature helps to bring out its full range of flavours and aromas. If you’ve stored your Merlot in the fridge, let it sit out for about 30 minutes before serving.

How Long Can I Keep an Open Bottle of Merlot?

Once opened, a bottle of Merlot can last 3-5 days if properly resealed and stored in the refrigerator. Using a wine preservation tool can help extend its life by limiting exposure to air.


So, there you have it! Merlot is unequivocally a red wine, beloved for its rich, fruity flavours and versatile nature. Whether you’re a seasoned wine lover or just starting your journey, Merlot offers something for everyone. So, the next time you find yourself perusing the wine aisle, don’t hesitate to pick up a bottle of Merlot and savour the delightful experience it promises.