Interesting Merlot Facts

5 Interesting Merlot Facts

Merlot was originally made famous in Bordeaux where it is the most widely planted red cultivar.  Along with cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and petite verdot, it is one of the five varieties used to make red wine in Bordeaux.

Here are 5 very interesting Merlot facts you might not know.

  1. Merlot ripens earlier than cabernet sauvignon and on average, is much lower in tannin.  It is for this reason that these 2 varieties are so widely used as blending partners, where their respective tannin levels complement each other.  Ripening can happen quickly making the timing of harvest vital. 
  2. Merlot in Bordeaux is most famous on the right bank of the Gironde where it is a major component of many of the famous wines of Pomerol and Saint E’million.  The most famous of these wines is the rare, famous and expensive Chateau Petrus.
  3. In the USA, Merlot was for a period of time the most fashionable of all red varieties where it was hailed for its soft, round and approachable tannin structure.
  4. In South Africa, Merlot is the favourite red varietal and has become the largest selling red varietal wine with approximately 13% market share.
  5. The Merlots of South Africa tend to fall into 2 general styles.  Riper, fuller, red fruit styles and minty, eucalyptus styles.


Alvi’s Drift Merlot is made in the riper style and is medium to full bodied but still soft and approachable.  The colour is a rich garnet with aromas of cherries, plums and tobacco with a hint of vanilla and chocolate.  The palate lingers well with balanced and mellow tannins.   The wine is best suited to braai meat, poultry, pasta and soft cheeses.   Aging can be carried out under controlled conditions for up to 5 years.



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