Flavor Profile: Merlot is often described as having the flavors of plums, blackberry, black cherry, herbs, and mocha. Merlot is softer tasting than Cabernet Sauvignon due to having less tannins. It is a smooth, dry, medium-bodied, fruit-forward red wine, perfect for candidates just getting into red wines.

Wine and Food Pairings: Merlot is fairly versatile and pairs wonderfully with poultry, lamb, beef, veal, rich pasta sauces, pizzas, and salads.  Merlot is also an excellent compliment to chocolate!

Origin: Merlot originates from Bordeaux in France where it is the most commonly planted grape. You can find many great Merlots from California, Oregon, and Washington. Merlot is often used to blend with other varietals, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, to "soften" the wine.

Interesting Facts about Merlot:

- Merlot means "Little Blackbird" in French.

- Following the movie Sideways release, Merlot sales dropped 2% while Pinot Noir increased 16% in the USA. However, the sales of Merlot remain more than double of those of Pinot Noir.

- One of the most famous and expensive wines in the world, Chateau Petrus from Pomerol, Bordeaux is 99% merlot.

Video on Merlot:

Toad Hollow Russian River Merlot Reserve 2005   

This Merlot is a Gold Medal Winner of the 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, which is the largest competition of American wines. When it comes flavor, character, and value this Merlot over-delivers. You'll LOVE it!