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The 9 Best Merlots From Around the World to Buy in 2024

The 9 Best Merlots From Around the World to Buy in 2024


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What are the differences among Merlot wines from various regions?

While different soil types, climate, and winemaking team have a strong effect on Merlot’s qualities, you can generally expect blueberry, black cherry, black currant, and vanilla flavors with velvety tannins and soft leather or earthy notes. Outside of Bordeaux, Merlot grows around the globe, but some of the best bottles on the market come from Australia, Napa, Sonoma, Italy, and Washington State. While Bordeaux has long been considered a cold weather region because of its damp maritime climate, most of its vineyards are at sea level, so warming temperatures there can add to a sense of over-ripeness if grapes are not picked early enough. Australia and Italy’s vineyards are generally close to sea level as well. In contrast the Napa AVA’s known for Merlot are mainly on mountainsides and hillsides high above the valley floor. These altitudes contribute to large swings in day-to-night temperatures, which aid in maintaining freshness and acidity in the grapes. Different soil types contribute to the flavor profile; volcanic soils or those with high mineral content can add traces of salinity, smoke, or what is simply known as minerality.

How should you drink Merlot?

Merlot should be served in a large wine glass, that is often called a Bordeaux glass. A large, deep bowl allows for more airspace above the wine and offers the best conditions for aromas to be released and appreciated and for allowing the wine to open. It should be served at a temperature between 55º and 65º F; if you store your bottles in a temperature-controlled cooler or cellar, they should be perfect when removed. Decanting before serving can also bring out the best in your Merlot.

How did we choose the nine Merlot wines on this list?

We took many elements into consideration when making our choices, and the most important is taste, but how a wine actually “tastes” involves a variety of impressions, including flavor, texture, tannins, acidity, and finish. We also considered ability to age and a combination of rarity and accessibility: We sought out wines that are made in relatively small quantities but at the same time are available to purchase without having to join a winery club or allocation list. The majority were tasted blind in comparative tastings with similar wines, but some were enjoyed at dinner with winemakers or opened by friends.

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Why should you trust us?

Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen, Robb Report’s wine editors, have been writing about wine for two decades, have visited wine regions and wineries around the world, and have tasted wine with the people who make it. Last year they tasted over 6,000 wines and are on target to sample more than 7,000 in 2024. They are judges for the internationally renowned Concours Mondial de Bruxelles wine competition, and their work has appeared in Wine Spectator, Forbes, Wine Enthusiast, Huffington Post, Saveur, and books published by Oxford University Press. They have been featured for their expertise in wine on The Today Show, The Martha Stewart Show, CNN, CBS, Fox, WGN, WPIX and NBC. Known as the World Wine Guys, they are the authors of six wine books which have received various accolades and awards including “Best Wine Book in the World” from Gourmand International.

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