Merlot is the American "burgundy" of the 2000's. This grape dates back to Bordeaux in 1784 when top wines were produced in the Libournais region. The name comes from the French regional patois word "merlot" which means "young blackbird." The naming could come from either the beautiful dark-blue grape color or the blackbird's fondness for the grape. UC Davis researchers believe that Merlot is an offspring of Cabernet Franc and a sibling to Carmenere. Merlot is widely planted throughout the world in places like Bordeaux, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, South America, South Africa, and throughout the United States. To this day, the most sought after wine in the world is Chateau Petrus, which prices out at $5000 for a single 750ml bottle. (That is $80 for a sip!)
Merlot is often thought of as "vineyard insurance" due to its higher yields and early ripening. The cluster is a loose bunch of large berries with a blue/black hue and thinner skins. When compared to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot has fewer types of tannin, higher sugars and lower acids, which translates into a fruit forward taste profile and lush mouth feel. If left on the vine too long or harvested too early, Merlot can be quite herbaceous though. Merlot has a flavor profile similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, and an often time is blended with Cabernet to extract more fruit flavors out of the wine. Typical flavor and smell characteristics of Merlot include black cherry, currant, plum, sweet & smoky wood, violets, coffee, leather, mushroom and earth.
Although Merlot matures earlier in the bottle than Cabernet Sauvignon, it is held in higher esteem to wine drinkers rather than wine collectors. Merlot is easy to say, easy to drink, and readily available at all price ranges. It spite of the beating Merlot took in the movie Sideways, it is still by far the most popular red wine consumed in North America. With a loyal following and growing popularity, we felt compelled to break into the Merlot market.
Oswego Hills Merlot
Our Merlot is sourced from the top-growing region of the Columbia Valley in Washington. Following a 21-day primary fermentation, the wine is aged in new French and Hungarian oak barrels for 16 months prior to blending and bottling. Jammy blackberries, sweet cherry, concentrated plum, and an overall smooth structure with a supple, lingering finish characterize this balanced wine. Enjoy this wine now of let it age for the next 5-7 years in your cellar. Pairings with the medium-bodied Merlot include veal, lamb, beef, salmon, tuna, mushrooms, berries, pasta, pizza and any non-squishy cheese.