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Merlot

Merlot is commonly used in Cabernet Sauvignon blends, as it is not very tannic and has a mid-palate weight, nicely contrasting the heavy tannin and doughnut-like palate structure of Cabernet Sauvignon. It also grows in similar conditions to Cabernet Sauvignon, thus making them perfect partners.

By itself, Merlot can produce rich, juicy, fruit-driven wines, but is also prone to over-cropping, which can led to dull wines. Vineyard location and maintenance is important in making the most of this variety.

Merlot is commonly used in Cabernet Sauvignon blends, as it is not very tannic and has a mid-palate weight, nicely contrasting the heavy tannin and doughnut-like palate structure of Cabernet Sauvignon. It also grows in similar conditions to Cabernet Sauvignon, thus making them perfect partners.

By itself, Merlot can produce rich, juicy, fruit-driven wines, but is also prone to over-cropping, which can... read more.

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Key Countries and Regions

Merlot is the backbone grape in many Bordeaux wines, and is the dominant grape in the blends of St-Emilion and Pomerol. It is the basic ingredient of some of the most sought-after wines in the world (those hailing from Chateux Petrus, Le Pin and Clinet). Merlot also plays a major role in the New World wines from America (California and Washington State), Chile, Italy (Tuscany), Australia (Margaret River) and New Zealand (Hawkes Bay).

Common Flavours and Ageing

The most prevalent flavours include fruits like cherry, black olive, mulberry and raspberry (even fruitcake); root vegetables like beetroot and rhubarb and natural flavours such as earth, violet and a leaf-like taste. The texture is juicy, velvety, rounded and smooth, being medium-bodied and well-balanced. It can be drunk when young due to its supple and plump character; at such an age, it is very deep in colour, often near-black with purple hints. As it ages, it becomes closer to a garnet-red, and the richer flavours of leather, caramel, bacon, truffle and coffee materialise.

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  1. Château Kirwan, Margaux

    Chateau Kirwan 2000 75cl

    Limited stocks

    Classic high quality claret that has plenty of aging potential due to its balance of delicate subtlety and sturdy structure. The palate is complex and the finish lasting but the best is still to come from this vintage.

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    £106.98
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    £115.00
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    £89.15
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    £95.83
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  2. Château Rauzan-Ségla, Margaux

    Château Rauzan-Ségla, Margaux, 2004 75cl

    Blackcurrant fruit aromas fill the nose and are supported by hints of berry and even softer hints of spice. this is well structured and well balanced with tannin firming up the palate whilst leaving it silky smooth with a defining elegant finish.

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    £64.56
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    £72.65
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    £53.80
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    £60.54
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  3. Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac

    Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac, 2005 75cl

    Ripe black fruit fills the nose with cassis characteristics developing and combining beautifully with spicy notes. The palate is full with rich concentration and an intense purity, the wine finishes with class and elegance.

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    £113.88
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    £128.00
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    £94.90
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    £106.67
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  4. Château Cantenac Brown, Margaux

    Château Cantenac Brown, Margaux, 2007 75cl

    This outstanding vintage has all the rich fruit character you'd expect from Marguax with this wine's best arguably still to come. It is a touch more lively than aniticipated with good tannic backbone. A well made wine which we would expect from this third growth estate.

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    £67.15
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    £76.94
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    £55.96
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    £64.12
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  5. Château Fourcas Hosten, Listrac Médoc

    Château Fourcas Hosten, Listrac Médoc, 2007 75cl

    Lots of black fruit flavour here with black cherry most detectable. The fruit is supported by supple tannins that make for a medium bodied wine that is ready to go but will happily cellar for another year or so.

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    £21.66
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    £24.00
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    £18.05
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  6. Chateau l'Arrosee, Saint-Emilion

    Chateau l'Arrosee Grand Cru, Saint-Emilion, 2007 75cl

    A soft, plummy St Emilion which has a medium body and pleasent, velvety tannins. A superb food wine.

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    £36.06
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    £40.00
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    £30.05
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    £33.33
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  7. Château Lafleur-Gazin, Pomerol

    Château Lafleur-Gazin, Pomerol, 2007 75cl

    A well made and classic Bordeaux this wine is smooth and well integrated with good fruit on the nose and palate.

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    £41.70
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    £42.95
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    £34.75
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    £35.79
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  8. Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, Paulliac

    Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, Paulliac, 2007 75cl

    Blackcurrant aromas are supported by subtle soft spice. The palate brings some blackberry notes with a hint of cedar and tobacco. Whilst not as intense as the 2005, this still retains the elegance of good Paulliac and makes a fantastic alternative if something a touch lighter is required.

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    £93.72
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    £106.00
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    £78.10
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    £88.33
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  9. Chateau la Serre Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Émilion

    Chateau la Serre Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Émilion, 2008 75cl

    This is a deliciously approachable wine which is drinking beautifully now but will continue to develop if you wish to hold onto it for a little longer. Ruby in color with a slight hint of garnet red, this wine is packed with soft red berry and bramble fruit flavors and just a suggestion of licorice intermingled with cassis. The finish is long and complex with penetrating depth of flavour.

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    £36.60
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    £41.50
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    £30.50
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    £34.58
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  10. Château Talbot, Saint Julien, 2008

    Château Talbot, Saint Julien, 2008 75cl

    Fruit not quite as dominant as the 2005, with more herbaceous notes detectable amongst tannin and spice. Medium body and quite soft on the palate too which makes for a creamy texture with an unimposing finish.

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    £67.80
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    £75.00
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    £56.50
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  11. Château Kirwan, Margaux

    Château Kirwan, Margaux, 2009 75cl

    Still too young to tell exactly how this wine will develop but expect blackcurrant fruit to be surrounded by strong tannin and cedar. Softening with time will bring smooth velvety palate and a long deep finish.

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    £81.72
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    £89.00
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    £68.10
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    £74.17
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  12. Les Tourelles de Longueville, Pauillac

    Les Tourelles de Longueville, Pauillac, 2010 75cl

    A wine with generous depth, complexity, and a seductive richness on both the nose and palate. This is a Merlot dominated wine with a fresh dark berry character and a luscious, velvety mouthfeel.

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    £44.34
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    £49.94
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    £36.95
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    £41.62
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