Andrew Corrigan MW shares his tips for getting the best value Merlot…

Merlot (pronounced “mer–low”, the “t” is silent) gets bad press but can be excellent value if not too overcropped.

The movie well known in wine circles, Sideways, cemented the poor and ubiquitous reputation for this high volume style of Merlot.

It is a “cousin” variety of Cabernet Sauvignon but thinner skinned and therefore has less colour and depth. Merlot ripens on the vine more easily and gives greater crop levels than Cabernet and this can be part of the problem – because over cropped Merlot is thin in flavour.

Good Merlot has good palate length and tannin and a juicier mid-palate than Cabernet and whereas Cabernet tends to show blackcurrant and cedar aromas, good Merlot delivers tomato jam, toffee and blackcurrant flavours.

Follow good Cabernet and you will usually find good Merlot.

Try the following Merlots:

  • Coonawarra – Leconfield $26
  • Margaret River – Moss Wood Ribbon Vale $23
  • Barossa Valley – Dandelion $18
  • The Granite Belt – Hidden Creek $17