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Flashcards in Merlot Deck (28)
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In what climates does Merlot prefer to grow?

  • Moderate
  • Warm


From which region does Merlot originate?

Bordeaux, France


What is the climate of the Bordeaux region?



Describe the typical profile of Merlot made with just-ripe grapes.

  • Dry
  • Light to medium body
  • Medium acidity
  • Medium tannins
  • Red fruit
  • Green bell pepper


Describe the typical profile of Merlot made with riper grapes.

  • Dry
  • Medium to full body
  • Medium acidity
  • Medium tannins
  • Black fruit


Why is Merlot typically blended into other wines, especially with Cabernet Sauvignon?

Merlot softens the harder-edged tannins of other grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Merlot also adds red fruit flavors and approachability allowing the wine to be drunk younger.


Does Merlot typically see oak or no oak?

It depends on the style.

For just-ripe Merlot which is lighter in body, it doesn't usually see oak.

For riper Merlot which is fuller in body, this style is usually enhanced by the use of oak which adds complexity and flavor.


What are the 2 regional appellations used for Merlot that can be grown anywhere in Bordeaux?

  1. Bordeaux AOC
  2. Bordeaux Supérieur AOC


What is the difference between Bordeaux AOC and Bordeaux Supérieur AOC?

Bordeaux Supérieur AOC has tighter regulations:

  • Lower yields
  • Higher minimum alcohol
  • Slightly longer aging

Otherwise it's the same grapes and methods as Bordeaux AOC.


The 2 regional appellations, Bordeaux AOC and Bordeaux Supérieur AOC, are usually red blends dominated by ___.



What weather threat does Bordeaux get a lot of and why?

Bordeaux gets lots of rainfall due to its adjacency to the Atlantic Ocean.


Which grape is the most extensively planted in the Bordeaux region?



What are the rivers of Bordeaux?

Garonne and Dordogne Rivers which flow into the Gironde Estuary.


Bordeaux is sectioned into the ___ Bank and ___ Bank by the Gironde Estuary.

Left Bank and Right Bank


What 7 famous appellations lie in the area known as the Left Bank?

  • Médoc AOC
    • Haut-Médoc AOC
      • Pauillac AOC
      • Margaux AOC
  • Graves AOC
    • Pessac-Léognan AOC
  • Sauternes AOC (sweet wine only)

These AOCs are located on the west side of the Gironde and Garonne Rivers.


What 3 famous appellations lie in the area known as the Right Bank?

  • Saint-Émilion Grand Cru AOC
  • Saint-Émilion AOC
  • Pomerol AOC

These AOCs are located north/northeast of the Dordogne River.


While Merlot is typically the greater part of the blend on the ___ Bank, Cabernet Sauvignon makes up the greater proportion of red blends on the ___ Bank.

Merlot --> Right Bank

Cabernet Sauvignon --> Left Bank


Describe the style of Merlot-based blends from Pomerol AOC and Saint-Émilion AOC.

  • Dry
  • Full body
  • Concentrated black fruits
  • Oak


Merlot also grows in the south of France.  What grapes is it usually blended with there?

  • Grenache
  • Syrah
  • Cabernet Sauvignon

There are a handful of examples of Merlot from the South of France bottled as a single varietal, but it typcially performs best when it's blended.


What countries outside of France grow a fair amount of Merlot?

  • United States
  • Chile
  • South Africa
  • Australia
  • New Zealand


What appellation in California makes Merlot in an easy-going, medium-bodied, fruity style?

California appellation

With the California appellation, the grapes can be sourced from anywhere within the state of California.


Which 2 appellations in California make full-bodied, robust styles of Merlot?

  1. Napa Valley
  2. Sonoma


How common is it for California Merlots to be influenced by oak, be it from oak chips or new oak barrels?

Very common

Oak flavors include vanilla, coconut, spice and smoke.


What area of Chile allows for high yields and high volume of Merlot?

Central Valley

Chile's Central Valley is warm and dry, perfect for making soft, approachable Merlot.


Which region of South Africa is known for its Bordeaux red blends?



Stellenbosch's mountainous landscape ranges from a moderate to warm climate and is influenced by varying elevation and ocean breezes.


Which region in Australia uses Merlot in their Bordeaux red blends?

Margaret River


The majority of Merlot in New Zealand comes from which region?

Hawke's Bay, on the North Island

Merlot in Hawke's Bay can be bottled as a single varietal or used in blends, with styles ranging from light and approachable to full and age-worthy.


What makes the climate in Hawke's Bay so good at growing Merlot?

Climate is moderate with good deal of rainfall.