The following list may be of assistance in helping to gain the maximum reward from your Merlot.
Identifying these and understanding the level of influence (or intensity) will give insight to added enjoyment of what must be the world's most remarkable grape variety/wine. While most are obvious, it is when they come together that they are most valuable in describing Merlot.
|Ripe||Cherry - Black Cherry (as distinct from the sharper Red Cherry)|
|Spice (usually from the oak)||Plump|
|Chocolate - Dark/Bitter||Ripe Full Tannins|
|Dark Berry Fruit||Succulent|
|Huge extract and power - usually from high order ripeness||Truffles|
|Lush yet penetrating||Mulberry|
|Exotic Fruit||Silky - as of the finish|
|Christmas Pudding||Tobacco Leaf|
To verify the suitability to Merlot, just try using the descriptors and think of Cabernet, Shiraz or Mouvedre - just doesn't feel the same.
Be this as it may, these are some of the descriptors that seem to lend themselves to Cabernet Franc or Cabernet Sauvignon. This is basically in the instance of the French "Merlots" which quite often contain high percentages of Cabernet Franc in particular.
|La Conseillante||45% Merlot||45% Cabernet Franc||10% Malbec|
|Vieux Chateau Certan||60% Merlot||30% Cabernet Franc||10% Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Trotanoy||80% Merlot||10% Cabernet Franc||10% Mixed|
Here of course we are comparing district wines rather than strict varieties, with the obvious consequences of such.
Likewise, be aware that other Merlots may not be totally Merlot - not that that is a lesser thing, but different, and in many cases gives much more definitive layering of flavours and consequently more complexity to enjoy.
Of the descriptors the main signature that I see for Merlot is that of plum, rich ripe plum - in both bouquet and palate.
Secondary is the softness yet depth of flavour when made from ripe grapes.
And lastly the incredibly soft but full tannins - so velvety.
Trust you enjoy your Merlot all the more.