Merlot is the most charming member of the Bordeaux family. It shines with rich colour, fragrant fullness, velvety tannins and sweet, plummy fruit. It even makes itself easy for the vintner, as it matures without issue in cool years as well. This is in contrast to the stricter Cabernet Sauvignon, which it complements as a blending partner. Its good qualities have made the Merlot famous worldwide. At over 100,000 hectares, it is the most-planted grape in France. It also covers large areas in California, Italy, Australia and recently in Eastern Europe. The only catch is that pure Merlot varieties rarely turn out well. Its charm is often associated with a lack of substance. Only the best specimens improve with maturity. They then develop complex notes of leather and truffles. This succeeds in the top wines from the Bordeaux appellation of Pomerol and those from Ticino, among others.
Italy – Where wine is a way of life
The Italian wine regions are extremely diverse, and this is made clear in their wines. Established varieties such as Merlot, Syrah, and Sauvignon can be found on just 15 percent of the total vine growing area. The remaining 85 percent is reserved for autochthonous, indigenous varieties. More than 2,000 different grape varieties are grown under diverse conditions and pressed with various techniques into wines that reach the top tier of the international wine market.