It's that time of year again where wines lovers across the globe celebrate and sip upon one of the most prolific grape varieties on the planet - Merlot!
Now, it is still a couple days away, but that just gives some lead time for some fun gathering ideas :) And while you begin to mull over your options, lets go over a few fun facts and reasons to give you some ammunition for interesting convos with your compatriots!
First of all, it is one of the older grapes on record, with its earliest mention dating the late 16th century (1784 to be exact). Today, Merlot is one of the most planted grape varieties in the world, essential in Italy, Australia, United States, Canada, East/Southeast Europe, South America, Switzerland, South Africa, and Montenegro, to name a few.
In the 1990's, during a peak of Chilean wine sales, wine experts were wondering how their Merlot had such a different character than other countries - this curiosity lead to the discovery that their Merlot was actually Carmenere, causing quite the stir in the international wine scene. To no one's surprise, Carmenere sales rose sharply in the following years.
In an old regional french dialect, Merlot translates to “little blackbird”. was is due to the grapes dark black color? Blackbirds that enjoyed eating them? Who knows, it will likely remain a mystery.
Like most other varietals, Merlot is a crossing of Cabernet Franc and a rare varietal called Magdeleine Noire des Charentes.
One one of the reasons that it has such international popularity is that it has so many faces depending on where it's grown, being comfortable in not only warm environments, but is capable of being grown in surprisingly cool areas as well, taking on flavours of Tobacco and earth notes.
Finally, never forget that Merlot has its origins on the right bank of Bordeaux. If you know only warm climate, new world wines from this grape, try branching out to its home country, you can find some killer deals if you know where to look. Here's a place to start.
Well, that's it for now. we hope that however you choose to celebrate the day, you have fun with some friends and family - and don't forget to serve at the proper temperature, 59°F - 61°F should do the trick!