Merlot's magic

Lightly oaked Merlot wines produce touches of vanilla and coconut flavors, while heavily oaked varieties produce tar and oak flavors.

May 6, 2007 13:29
1 minute read.
Merlot's magic

dalton wine 298.88. (photo credit: Ofer Zemach)

Producing a full red raspberry bouquet with soft tannins (the element that makes you pucker), Merlot is an easy wine to consume that has proven its versatility. While it is excellent as a single grape wine, it is also successful when paired with other grapes to made softer varieties of red wine - the most popular being Cabernet Sauvignon. A blend made with Merlot gives winemakers the chance to perfect their product. (Using only Merlot means the grapes have to be of the highest standard.) Described as medium bodied wine and not overly acidic, it is perfect for red wine beginners. Merlot grapes are usually best when grown in a consistently cool climate since they have thin skins that are easily scorched and can't protect the grape's content in very hot and dry conditions. The Bordeaux region in France and the north-eastern parts of Italy such as Veneto and Friuli are some of the best regions for the grape's cultivation. When tasting Merlot, plum, cherry and blackcurrant are some of the more common flavors. Lightly oaked Merlot wines produce touches of vanilla and coconut, while heavily oaked varieties produce tar and oak flavors. You can even find flavors such as mint, caramel, cloves, and - if the bottle has been properly aged - you may hit earthy aromas of coffee and cigars. This grape has a long and illustrious history which can be traced all the way back to the first century and the Bordeaux region in France. Here in Israel, the Dalton winery recently launched their single vineyard Merlot 2005. This is Dalton's second in the series of single vineyard wines. (The Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 was released at November 2005.) The grapes for the Merlot 2005 were picked in Meron, a vineyard which over the years has proven itself exceptional. This is a refined and elegant Merlot delivering concentrated aromas of black cherries, casis, and eucalyptus. It is bold and full-bodied with soft tannins and a mouth-coating finish. I tried it with a thick juicy steak, but it can stand up to almost anything you'll throw at it. NIS 120 (kosher)

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