So let me tell you a little secret, Merlot wine is actually fantastic, and everyone needs to know about it. This gem has been overlooked for too long! Merlot is not the “Two buck chuck”, cheap, supermarket wine it’s stereotyped to be! Inside every bottle of Merlot is a whirlwind of wonderful flavors and rich history. Its name is derived from “little blackbird” in french, it’s the most grown grape in all of france, it’s full of fruit flavors, sweetness, and spice. Merlot is easy to pair with food, and easy to drink solo. So without further ado, let me introduce you to my favorite wine variety. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Merlot.
Yes, you read that correctly, it is, in fact, the most popular wine in America. People can’t seem to get enough of it! The number one reason for purchasing Merlot wine was its quality and flavor. Coming in close second was the affordable price of Merlot. Sales climb every year despite the urban legend called “the sideways effect” from the movie Sideways in 2004. One Merlot-Loathing pro-Pinot drinking character in this movie slammed Merlot every chance he got. This was believed to create a wine revolution. However, Merlot statistics have been rising ever since that movie, and they continue to grow higher than the sales of the classy Pinot Noir. Take that, Hollywood!
With its silky smooth, berry infused, easy to drink body with spiced undertones, Merlot is believed to be the perfect introduction to wine. It has helped many of newbies get their feet wet, so to speak, in the wonderful world of wine. In fact, I myself am a wine convert because of Merlot! It is less sharp than Cabernet, and yet still has all the fullness of flavor. Merlot is inherently sweeter due to the regions in which the grapes are grown. This and its low levels of tannins (a naturally occurring bitter tasting substance found in the grape stem, seeds, and skin), make Merlot a friendly first step to becoming a wine drinker. Give it a shot, you more than likely will not be disappointed.
Not only is this popular wine easy to drink, it is also easy to pair with food. Because of Merlots various flavors and notes, it can be paired with almost anything. The most popular suggested pairings include roasted meats and grilled vegetables, especially Mediterranean flavors. I especially love Merlot paired with a lemon garlic shrimp scampi. The possibilities are endless; it’s perfect for white and red meats alike, as well as being enjoyed solo. When in doubt, Merlot is a safe, sophisticated and well-rounded choice for anything from a fancy dinner, to a quiet afternoon in. Relaxing bubble bath, anyone?
If there’s one reason you should drink more Merlot, it’s this: Merlot is a decadent treat you are sure to enjoy, with a low toll on your daily calorie intake. Calorie counters rejoice! With just 122 calories per 5 oz glass, less than one gram of sugar and no fat, Merlot packs a punch without compromising your diet. If you drink wine, you probably have heard of its heart-healthy properties. As it turns out studies can confirm that red wines do in fact help your heart, possibly due to the antioxidants such as flavonoids and resveratrol. The antioxidant resveratrol is the most popular and discussed antioxidant in red wine. It is found to help protect blood vessels from damage. Furthermore, many doctors believe that red wine can be linked to lowering the chances of heart attacks when consumed daily. A glass of wine a day? Don’t mind if I do.
There’s no question that Merlot is the most affordable variety of wine. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to settle for low quality, take it from me, a newlywed with a tight budget! Merlot is the highest quality wine you can purchase for the lowest price. On average, a bottle of Merlot costs 5.75 USD, gotta love that budget wine! However, a more typical well-crafted bottle will cost $8-$20. If you’re feeling fancy and on top of the world, you can splurge on your merlot and opt for a higher end choice which would cost you around $40+, with the world’s most loved Merlot, Château Pétrus 2004 Pomerol, costing $700 a bottle, yikes! Merlot is a great wine for anyone’s budget, and for any occasion!
With a reputation for low quality and convenience, the Merlot is often looked over. Underneath heaps of misconceptions stands a truly remarkable, and decadent work of art that breaks the barriers in the best possible way. It’s time to raise a glass to the most underrated and exceptional wine of all time! Cheers to Merlot!