The most recommended Merlot wine depends on budget and personal preferences. Certain brands may be suggested based on food pairings, preferred levels of fruitiness, budget considerations or a combination of factors.
Most Recommended Merlot Wine
If you are a novice to selecting wine, ask more experienced wine buying friends and family for suggestions; or, if they can recommend a wine shop with a trusted wine professional on staff. Many wine sellers will break down their recommendations by price after learning your taste preferences, while others make suggestions based on honors received in wine competitions.
Top Three Merlots by Price
Like most wines, the price of a bottle of Merlot can range from under ten bucks to hundreds or thousands of dollars. Many Merlot drinkers prefer to pay $20 or under for a bottle of wine, unless they are purchasing it for a special occasion or celebration.
Best $20 Choice
Veramonte Merlot bursts with blackberry flavor and has a distinctive and bold cherry aroma. The finish is slightly minty with a tinge of oak. Produced in the Maipo Valley just south of Santiago, Chile, this Merlot is a good buy at around $20 a bottle.
Best $10 Merlot
A product of Bridgeview Winery in southern Oregon, this 2001 vintage imparts blueberry and cherry flavors and finishes with a touch of spice. It has a medium to full body, a deep red hue and a bright bouquet. This satisfying Merlot is available for around $10 at most wine purveyors.
Sometimes an old standby continues to stand out. Ernest and Julio Gallo have been producing wine in Modesto, California since 1933, always maintaining quality while keeping prices affordable. Their Merlot is consistently smooth, dark and opulent, a wine with smooth tannins and subtle undertones of blackberry and plum. Most retailers sell this wine for around $7 a bottle.
Merlot Wine Competition Winners
There are wine competitions year round in every country in the world. Contests at local, state, national and international levels compare several properties of taste and bouquet and are broken down by wine types. The most recent United States Open Wine Competition picked the top Merlots in the country.
- Balduzzi 2007 Reserva Merlot, Glendale, California
- Jarvis 2006 Merlot, Napa Valley, California
- Maryhill 2006 Proprietor's Reserve Merlot, Goldendale, Washington
- Two Rivers 2007 Mesa County Merlot, Grand Junction, Colorado
- Rosenthal-The Malibu Estate 2005 The Devon Vineyard Merlot, Mission Viejo, California
- Talus 2006 Collection Merlot, Canandaigua, New York
- Sonoma Vineyards 2005 Merlot, Healdsburg, California
- Boeger 2006 Merlot, Placerville, California
- Lone Canary 2005 Merlot, Spokane, Washington
- The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey 2006 Reserve Merlot, Canon City, Colorado
What to Serve with Merlot
Since Merlots vary in their fruit flavors and richness, the most recommended Merlot wines for food pairing are quite diverse. The ones with tastes and noses that closely resemble those of Cabernet Sauvignon complement charred and grilled meats and poultry. The softer Merlots with Pinot Noir traits pair well with leafy green salads, chard, spinach, mushroom based dishes and salmon. The lightest and youngest tasting Merlots highlight the flavors of shellfish and bold, protein heavy meats like bacon and prosciutto. Spicy foods and strong cheeses are not good pairings with Merlot as the former makes the wine taste acrid and bitter and the latter overshadows the wine's fruit flavors.
In the world of wine, Merlot is a relatively new player. Each harvest inspires wineries to try different techniques and processes to create merlots superior to the last bottling. Find a local wine shop that offer public tastings of different merlots from assorted wineries to find one that suits your particular tastes.