World Tour Of My Favorite Wine

A good Merlot warms the heart, the ambiance and the cheeks. Merlot is extremely popular amongst red wines. It is an easy wine to drink and marries well with hearty dishes, especially so in winter. A wine that originated in France, like so many, now Merlot is produced with great success in other parts of the world as well, such as the United States, Chile and Australia. My personal goal is finding great Merlots from a variety of countries, at a great price.

The United States

Merlots from the Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley in the wine region of California tend to be especially good choices amongst American Merlots. Merlot is a warm-weather grape, and a specialty of these regions. A recent discovery I made amongst Sonoma Valley Merlots is Angeline 2002 for under $15. Two sure bets in Napa Valley Merlots are Sterling Vintner’s Collection, which range in price from $15 to $30 and Edgewood, which is usually under $20.

Chile also produces some wonderful Merlots. My personal great price for a great bottle from this country is Casillero del Diablo, which is usually found easily for under $10. This wine comes with a great story. In order to dissuade workers from partaking of the wines produced by his vineyard, one owner dubbed his cellar "Casillero del Diablo" or Cellar of the Devil. Amazingly, it kept the workers from going there and helping themselves.

My French Merlot favorites tend to come from Pays d’Oc, even though, the "pays" or country wines tend to have a reputation as being inferior to those from the A.O.C. or regulated wine regions. Pays d’Oc wines come from the Languedoc-Roussillon area in the south of France. This area specializes in varietal wines, or wines produced from only one specific grape, of which there has been an increasing demand. One surprisingly good Merlot from this area, considering it comes in a completely recyclable, environmentally friendly box, is called French Rabbit and retails for about $10. Its packaging is either a love-it or hate-it type of thing. I haven’t decided where I stand on it yet, but I definitely like what is inside it.

Australia

Australia’s Little Penguin Merlot is another of those under $10 choices that is surprisingly good. The entire Little Penguin line has gotten good ratings for such a new line of products. It certainly will not hold up favorably in comparison to the Sterling Vintner’s Collection or Edgewood from Napa Valley, however as an everyday Merlot to enjoy, this one is pretty good.

The key to enjoying different types of Merlot is doing some research, asking questions, reading ratings, doing a little taste testing before buying and being open to new experiences. Even if you have always enjoyed a wine from a certain region and tend to always buy wines from there, an occasional foray into another part of the same country or even into another country altogether will liven up your Merlot drinking. So go for it next time you are looking for a new wine and see how many continents you can enjoy.

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About The Author, Caroline Silverstone
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