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Should Merlot be Chilled? How to Serve Merlot

14 Sep 2023


Discovering the right way to serve a delightful bottle of premium Merlot can indeed amplify the wine-drinking experience to euphoric levels. Merlot wine, a staple in the wine world, carries with it a rich history and an even richer palette of flavors. But the question on everyone’s mind is, should Merlot be chilled? The answer isn’t as straightforward as one might think. Let's unravel this and other Merlot mysteries, as we guide you to enjoying your Merlot to the fullest.

Unveiling the Merlot Mystery

The Origin of Merlot

In order to fully appreciate this grape variety, it is essential to delve into its roots. Originating from the prestigious Bordeaux region, the Merlot grape has a rich heritage and has comfortably nestled itself in vineyards globally. Exploring the evolution of this robust grape over the centuries will provide a fresh perspective on your next glass. Its adaptability has seen it spread from France's esteemed vineyards to find a new home in the likes of the Napa Valley, delivering varying flavor profiles dependent on its geographical home. It is the willingness to embrace Merlot in different soils and climates that has cemented its status as a cornerstone in the world of wines.

The soft and rounded characteristics of Merlot grapes have not only made it a stellar solo performer but also a splendid companion to other grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon (learn more about Merlot vs Cabernet Sauvignon for more). Its versatility makes it a wine lover’s dream, offering both complexity and grace, with a delightful fruity essence that is both approachable for newbies and revered by seasoned sommeliers.

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The Perfect Temperature to Serve Merlot

The General Rule of Thumb

Finding the right temperature to serve your reds, especially Merlot, can be a game-changer. While it’s generally agreed that the ideal temperature range is between 60-65°F (15-18°C), sometimes a slightly chilled red wine could enhance the flavor even more, giving you a fresh and lively taste. The temperature intricacies go beyond the surface, as serving temperatures can accentuate the undertones of the Merlot, bringing forward either the sweetness or the acidity, crafting a tailor-made experience with every sip. Delving deeper into the world of wines, one would find the “room temp” notion to be outdated, as it fails to bring out the true potential of a robust bottle of Merlot. It’s all about striking the right balance to enhance your wine tasting adventure.

White Merlot: A Different Approach

Then there is the refreshing world of white Merlot wine, a category that indeed deserves a different approach when it comes to serving temperature. The slightly sweet and crispy notes flourish beautifully when served cool, presenting a vivid tapestry of flavors that stand tall and refreshing. The cooling notes of a chilled white Merlot offer a delightful palate cleanse, making it a popular choice during summer soirees. When diving into a bottle of white Merlot, it can often be refreshing to pair it with lighter dishes, allowing the wine to truly shine without overpowering the food. It’s the ideal beverage to sip on a warm day, promising a burst of freshness with every glass.

Storing Your Merlot: Short and Long Term

Finding the Right Spot

Understanding the importance of consistent temperature is vital. A kitchen, despite its convenience, is generally not the best place for wine storage due to fluctuations in temperature. Finding a spot that maintains a cellar temperature can ensure the wine bottle keeps its integrity, presenting you with the perfect glass every time. While long-term storage requires meticulous attention to temperature and humidity, short-term storage still demands a cool, stable environment, away from direct light and strong odors. Wine enthusiasts often go the extra mile in securing a dedicated wine cellar or a designated spot in their basements to keep their prized collection at the optimal condition. The basement often emerges as a hero, offering a consistent, cool temperature, making it a safe haven for your bottles to rest until they grace your table.

The Role of Wine Coolers and Fridges

Investing in a good wine cooler or fridge can take your wine storing game to the next level. While a wine fridge offers an optimal environment for long-term storage, even a standard refrigerator can do the trick for short-term storage, maintaining the proper temperature and keeping your Merlot ever so vibrant and fresh. When opting for a wine cooler, one must consider the size and features that would suit their collection best, balancing between functionality and aesthetics. A dual-zone wine fridge could potentially offer the best of both worlds, allowing for precise temperature control for both your reds and whites. It is indeed an investment towards ensuring every opened bottle offers the fresh, full-bodied experience it promises.

Enhancing the Merlot Experience

The Art of Decanting

Decanting isn't merely a fancy step; it allows the Merlot to breathe, enhancing its aroma and flavor. When it comes to the question, what does Merlot taste like?, even a simple act of decanting can heighten the earthy notes, offering a full-bodied experience that leaves a lingering taste of perfection on your palate. Understanding when to decant is a skill that wine enthusiasts develop over time, discerning the perfect moment to introduce air into the equation, enhancing the flavor profile exponentially. For older vintages, decanting can be a delicate dance, requiring a precise choreography to ensure the wine breathes just enough without losing its character. Rest assured, the art of decanting, though might seem daunting, often brings forth a remarkable transformation in the wine, making it well worth the effort.

Food Pairings to Complement Merlot

So, what does Merlot pair with? Merlot, with its earthy and fruity undertones, pairs wonderfully with a range of foods. While it’s a delightful partner to red meat dishes, one must avoid overly spicy foods as they can overshadow the delicate nuances of Merlot. However, the wine offers a charming complement to a plethora of dishes beyond meats; think hearty stews, rich pastas, and even a well-curated cheese platter, offering a delightful symphony of flavors in every bite. Experimenting with pairings is encouraged, finding the harmony between the wine’s complexity and the dish’s flavor profile. Remember, the best pairing is what suits your palate, transforming a meal into an exquisite experience that dances gracefully between harmonious flavors and tantalizing contrasts.

The Right Glass for the Right Wine

Understanding Glass Shapes

Choosing the right glass is not just about aesthetics; it’s about enhancing the wine's aroma and flavor. A Bordeaux glass, specially designed to encapsulate Merlot's intricate characteristics, is your go-to choice, but a modern stemless glass could also do justice to this majestic wine. The shape of the Bordeaux glass is specifically designed to direct the wine to the back of the mouth, enhancing its rich, full-bodied flavor profile. Stemless glasses, on the other hand, offer a modern alternative that is not just about aesthetics, but also about convenience and a more casual approach to wine drinking. No matter your choice, ensuring the glass is clean and odor-free is imperative to enjoy the true essence of Merlot to the fullest.

Find Your Perfect Merlot with Barbank

As we round off our Merlot journey, it’s time to find your perfect partner in wine. Barbank offers you a select range of Merlots, from exquisite names like Columbia Crest and The Velvet Devil to favorites for your everyday dinner like Mirassou and William Hill. Experience the world of Merlot with Barbank online alcohol delivery, where every bottle promises a journey of flavor, aroma, and the perfect temperature for your Merlot experience. Barbank is keen on guiding you through the selection process, offering insights and recommendations that align with your preferences, ensuring you find the Merlot that speaks to your soul. Whether it’s a vintage bottle for a special occasion or a fresh and vibrant new world Merlot for a casual evening, Barbank is your trusted guide in navigating the mesmerizing world of Merlot. The world of wines waits to be explored, with Barbank ready to elevate your wine journey, one exquisite bottle at a time.

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