Kosher Merlot Wine: Smooth and Complex
You might know the stereotype of Merlot as a simple, inexpensive wine you can take home and drink with essentially anything. While Merlot can be an easy-drinking staple, it is also a significant Bordeaux wine capable of great depth, complexity, and intrigue. All the foundations for an elegant wine are there in Merlot, including high tannins, medium acidity, and (in its definitive version) low sugar. It is a plush, delicate wine that great winemakers, or subtly sweet cheese, can make the most of.
Popular Kosher Merlot Brands
Several brands offer kosher Merlot, including:
The History of Merlot Wines
Merlot is an old grape that was first described by wine officials in 1784, although it was undoubtedly cultivated throughout the 1600s. It may have gotten its name from merlau, the local word for the blackbirds, which prefer to eat it. Modern DNA testing has revealed that Merlot was a natural cross of Cabernet Franc and a lesser-known grape that was not even given a name. Merlot had humble beginnings but rose in popularity in the Bordeaux region, where it became a staple for mixes. There, it is still the most widely planted grape.
Merlot spread first to Italy and Switzerland and later to the United States and California specifically. It has also become the second most popular grape to grow in Israel. In modern days it is also most likely to be used as a varietal wine and comes in three distinct flavor styles depending on climate, terroir, and choices made by the winemaker.
The classic Merlot is a medium to full-bodied red wine with high tannins, medium acidity, and low sugar, resulting in a dry taste. Merlot is soft, feels velvety in the mouth, and tastes a wide range of berries and fruit, from black cherries to plum or blueberry. Merlot can include a range of vegetable or earthy notes like fennel, humus, bell peppers, and olives. When aged in oak, Merlot can take on fascinating notes such as caramel, coconut, dill weed, vanilla, and more.
It is common for winemakers to take the typical Merlot profile and make it slightly or significantly more tannic. Those who prefer high tannins and Cabernet Sauvignon will likely enjoy the most intense versions of Merlot. Although, if that is not to your taste, you can also try a white Merlot. These have minimal tannins and are pink and musty.
Food Pairings for Merlot
Merlot is a reasonably diverse wine, so you should take care when pairing it to focus on the specific qualities of the wine that you have on hand. Merlots that are fruit-forward and soft, working with salmon, shellfish mushroom, and spicy greens. Merlots with more intense tannins and body can stand next to intense flavors in grilled and charred meats.
Those who choose to age Merlot may be rewarded with notes like tobacco and leather. You might also enhance the natural herbal notes found in the best Merlot and end up with dried mint, rosemary, or other unusual notes. Choose a kosher Merlot to add to your cellar and enhance the experience of drinking this exceptional wine.