Red wine is a drink that has been enjoyed by people of various cultures for thousands of years. Made from a variety of grapes, red wind obtains its color or shades of red and even dark purple, during the fermenting process from the skin mixing with the juice.
Red wines come in varietals and bodies. Varietal is just a word to describe the various wines that are obtained from specific varieties of grapes. Examples of varietal wines include: Merlot, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Bodies are classified as light, medium, and full. Also, wines are characterized by the amount of tannins. Tannin refers to the “pucker power” of a wine, and its flavor comes from seeds, skin, and the stems. Often you will find that the tannins are stronger in younger wines.
Merlot can be considered medium or full bodied and, has smooth tannins. This wine will also have a dry taste and unlike most wines, Merlot is best when it’s young, rather than aging for some time. A typical Merlot will have grape scent to it, accompanied with a floral scent. Some various flavors of Merlots include: cedar, green olive, tobacco, black pepper, mint, ect. The fruits can range from cherries, plum, raspberries, and black berries.
Merlot comes from Berdou, a region located in France. It is now grown all throughout the world. In American, it is grown in Washington, Texas, and California. Australia, France, and South America are all areas where Merlot is grown and is quite popular.
When it comes to making Merlot, the grapes ripen much quicker than you would find for other wines. They are hand picked or machine picked and then fermented in wooden casks or in tanks. The fermentation can last anywhere from 7 to 18 days. After this, the wine is stored in oak barrels or chips. This is where the Merlot will age. Depending on who is making the wine, typical aging is from 6 months to 18 months. Finally, the wine is bottled.
When it comes to serving Merlot, there are several things to keep in mind. First, it is best with lamb or, some other type of red meat. You will want to serve it at a temperature just below room temperature, usually around 56°-58°F. Next, you will want to decant the wine, which simply means pouring the wine into a decanter, a large glass (see image). Wait about 15 minutes before pouring the wine into a wine glass, one that is deep and wide, with a rim that is slightly smaller. Make sure the glass is only about 1/3 full, swirl the wine in the glass, holding it by the stem so that the heat from your hand does not warm the wine. Be sure to first take a small sip and hold in your mouth for a few seconds.
If for some reason you spill your wine, there are several ways to remove the stain but, washing it first with white wine will neutralize the red wine, and take most of that stain out. Follow up with washing it with some club soda.
Red wines, like Merlot, are said to be good for your overall heath, as they provide high amounts of antioxidants. Drinking wine in moderation, about a glass per day, has been said to help with protecting against certain cancers, heart disease, and have positive effects on a person’s blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Another great thing about Merlot is that you can enjoy this wine on any budget. If you are looking for a high end, expensive Merlot, for about $200, you might want to try the 2001 Paloma Merlot Spring Mountain District.
For a great Merlot priced around only $10, a 2001 The Bridgeview is recommended. It has a nice medium body with blueberries and black cherries. For the less expensive wines, you might want to avoid ones that do not provide a cork but, a twist off cap. These tend to give the drinker a hangover more often. Enjoy your Merlot in moderation.