The Mystery of the Missing Merlot
Where is it?
Globally Merlot is the second most planted wine grape in the world after Cabernet Sauvignon.
How often do you see Merlot on a restaurant wine list or on the shelf of a bottle shop
Australia devotes over 8,000 hectares of its vineyards to Merlot. That’s just over 3% of our total vineyard area. We are growing nearly twice as much Merlot as we are Pinot Noir, and fifteen times as much Merlot as Malbec.
So where does all that Merlot go?
Some of it of course finds its way into “Cabernet Merlot” Even if all of the Cabernet Merlot is 49% Merlot and a lot of the “Cabernet Sauvignon” is 14.9% Merlot there is still lots left over. Some of it must get into varietal Merlots.
If Merlot is worth growing and making into wine why don’t we hear more about it?
With the notable exception of Irvine Grand Merlot nobody in Australia seems to take this variety seriously. It is rarely written about in magazines or blogs. You don’t see it on wine lists in many restaurants.
In France, Merlot is by far the most planted variety. It is also among the most highly regarded, especially in the right bank region of Bordeaux where it holds a higher status than Cabernet Sauvignon. A bottle of Petrus (100% Merlot) from the Pomerol AOC will set you back several thousand dollars.
But most Merlot seems to find its way into more modestly priced wines, either in blends or varietals.
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