Discover the elegance of Merlot

A smooth, medium bodied dry red wine celebrated for its lush red and black fruit aromas and velvety finish

Alvis Drift Winery

The Quintessential Guide to Merlot Wine in South Africa

Merlot, a velvety dry red wine renowned for its rich dark fruit notes and subtle hints of chocolate, has an enthralling heritage.

This flavourful cultivar was first identified in France’s Bordeaux region in the late 1700s. DNA analysis in the 1990s and 2000s confirmed that the medium bodied red wine Merlot is a descendant of the Cabernet Franc and Magdeleine Noire des Charentes varietals.

Today, South African Merlot stands proudly on the global stage, with our local Merlot wines often displaying hints of herbal freshness as part of their flavour profile.

Ripe Cherry, Plum, Chocolate, and Earthy Undertones

Merlot red wine is recognised for its silky texture and well-rounded character. The dominant flavours in this luscious, medium bodied red wine often include ripe red cherry, brambleberry, blackcurrant and plum, with gentle hints of chocolate.

Some South African Merlot, like the ones produced in the Western Cape, even boast a whisper of earthy tones such as truffle or forest floor. Indeed, local Merlot wines can even display soft herbaceous notes reminiscent of bay leaf or green bell pepper.

The alluring, black-hued Merlot grape, with its medium-sized, delicate-skinned berries, is typically cherished for its luscious red and black fruit notes and soft tannins. While it flourishes in temperate climates, Merlot shows adaptability across a range of terroirs.

Alvis Drift Winery
Alvis Drift Winery

Merlot: The Second-Most Planted Grape in the World

Due to Merlot wine’s popularity, it comes as no surprise that it is the second-most planted grape in the world (after Cabernet Sauvignon). Merlot vines stretch across all wine-producing regions of South Africa, and our Alvi’s Drift Signature Merlot wine is especially popular with red wine lovers for the great value it offers.

In South Africa, medium bodied Merlot especially appeals to those with a penchant for classic pasta dishes. The reason behind this perfect pairing? Merlot wine’s fruit-forward profile and supple texture beautifully enhance the flavours of creamy, tomato-based, and even herb-infused pasta recipes.

Alvi’s Drift Signature Merlot: “A masterful balancing act of fruit, oak and tannin”

With intense aromas of black cherry, plum, hints of chocolate and mixed spice, our Signature Merlot wine is an excellent example of this popular Bordeaux variety.

In our cellar, hand-harvested Merlot grapes are crushed and then left to ferment for about a week. To enhance the wine’s colour and flavour intensity, the juice is drawn off on skins, after which the wine is selectively matured in French oak for up to eight months.

This dry red wine makes a perfect partner for red meat and pasta dishes. It will also complement chicken pie and is delicious when enjoyed with dips and cheese. 

Visit our online shop today to order your multi-award-winning Alvi’s Drift Signature Merlot and get it delivered straight to your door.

Alvis Drift Winery


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