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Gillian Conway
November 2, 2016 | Varietal Musings | Gillian Conway

Its Good to Know About Merlot

And now, for the wine-geek that is hidden inside all of us, some fun facts about Merlot, and why you should be drinking more of it…

Merlot has a storied history in winemaking, as a highly respected, and established varietal. Merlot was first popularized in the 1780’s in France’s Bordeaux region, and has continued to be produced in France through the ages, and in more recent decades in the US, Australia, Italy, Chile, and Argentina.

Sadly, Merlot’s reputation has suffered a bit in California, due in part to some large producers making some rather lifeless versions of this classic and otherwise delicious grape. Because of this, Merlot is sometimes dismissed by today’s wine drinkers because it is assumed that it lacks the sophistication of Cabernet Sauvignon, or the trendy appeal Malbec. 

If you already love Merlot, then you can drink it with the confidence of someone who knows that you’re not alone. Over 18 million cases of Merlot are consumed in the US every year. All those people can’t be wrong! Merlot is the fifth most widely planted red wine grape in the universe, falling only slightly behind Cabernet Sauvignon. 640,000 acres of this tasty grape are planted worldwide.

If you haven’t had a merlot recently, here’s why you may be missing out.

The most expensive, collectible, and highly sought-after wines in the world are made with 100% Merlot grapes. Take for example, a bottle of 1982 Petrus. This world famous wine is made with 100% Merlot grapes and the average retail price is $6,000 a bottle! Surely even someone who doesn’t usually like Merlot would give that a try!

For those of us a little more price conscious, great Merlot can be found right here, in Santa Barbara, and we happen to make two wines that are 100% Merlot. Our 2012 Octopus Merlot ($28.00), and our 2013 Ringo’s Rescue Red ($22.00).

Merlot offers flavors of chocolate, blackberries, plums, licorice, black cherry, blueberries, and jam. It is juicy, opulent, and completely delicious.

Merlot is so special; it even has its own day. 

November 7th is International Merlot Day, and we should all be prepared to pay homage to this awesome, historically significant, and popular grape. The best way to celebrate? Pop a cork of the Deep Sea “Octopus” Merlot, Sta. Ynez Valley, carve off a tasty piece of tri-tip, or roasted chicken to pair with it. Or, if you have a sweet tooth like me, a big chunk of dark chocolate can’t be beat. Enjoy the bliss that comes with knowing you have a special glass of wine in your hand, made with special grapes that have been enjoyed the world over, for hundreds of years!


Gillian Conway


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