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International Merlot Day celebrates the red tipple

Merlot, the berry-flavoured red wine, is an easy-drinking choice for wine lovers.

INTERNATIONAL Merlot Day is commemorated by wine lovers across the globe today, on November 7.

Known as a popular, easy-drinking red wine, Merlot is one of the most widely cultivated grape varieties in the world.

Merlot is a medium to full-bodied wine. It falls in between Pinot Noir and Shiraz in terms of body and colour, and it has a slight bitterness in taste, which comes from the dark skins of the grape. Primary flavour notes can include berries, cherries, plums, chocolate and vanilla.

Merlot is the most popular South African wine and is said to age well. Wine connoisseurs will say the wine pleases most palates and pairs well with food such as chicken, steak, pork and lamb or berry-laden desserts.

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The wine was first produced in the Bordeaux region in France in the eighteenth century, and the grape from which it is made remains the most widely planted variety in that country. Merlot grapes are additionally grown in Italy, Israel, the United States, Chile, Australia and Argentina.

In South Africa, since the 1920s, Merlot is grown throughout the country, with Stellenbosch boasting the largest production area, followed by Paarl.

The name ‘Merlot’ is thought to be derived from the French name for a young blackbird – ‘merle’ or ‘merlau’. The name is taken to reference the blue-black colour of the grape that the wine is made from.

There is no better time to uncork a bottle of South African Merlot than today.


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