Continuing on the top grapes, I have hunted down the Pub's favourite: Chilean Merlots. Four wines under £10, from £3.99 to £8.99 tasted blinded. And the winner is:
A dry red wine made from Merlot grapes in Chile.
Appearance: deep ruby, sparse thick legs.
Nose: blackberries, black fruits, pepper and spices.
Palate: very fruit driven with red fruits (red currants, raspberries) with some sweet spices and hints of pepper too, medium bodied, warm pleasant alcohol, slight acidity imbalance and relatively long finish with some tannins but relatively fine-grained.
Score: 11/20 (not taking into account price)
You'll like it if you like: red plums, smooth-textured wines, easy drinking wines, relatively low structure and tannins, Beaujolais, young Tempranillo, standard Bordeaux.
Have it with
Almost anything? Merlot is one of the most versatile grape so try it
Where to find it & scores
1) Laithwaites - The Patriots - £6.99 - See above. 11/20
2) Tesco - Frontera - £6.99 - More complexity (fruits & layers of tobacco) but shorter finish and slightly sticky tannins. 10/20
3) Waitrose - Montgras - £8.99 - Beautiful bottle, smooth wine but slightly sticky tannins and shorter finish. 9/20
4) Tesco - Chilean Merlot - £3.99 - Confected fruit on the nose, easy to drink but bland. 5/20
Did you know?
> DNA research has proven to be the progeny of cabernet franc and another still unknown grape variety.
> Merlot is a black grape that is relatively easy to grow: it ripens easily and produce high yields.
> Merlot can be found in moderate climates (e.g. Bordeaux, Italy) where it tends to produce red fruit driven medium-bodied wines and in hot climates (Chile, South Africa, California) where the black fruit and alcohol dominates.
> In Saint Emilion and Pomerol wines, Merlot is the dominant grape variety, which gives its generally smoother and fruitier flavours.
> There is a white merlot variety which is not a mutation of the black merlot and is still grown in very low quantity in Bordeaux.
Whatever wine you drink this weekend, enjoy your wine!