Softer than Cabernet Sauvignon, with medium tannins and acids, Merlot is a popular stand-alone varietal as well as a central blending grape in Bordeaux. Cool climates will highlight vegetal flavors, while warmer climates showcase ripe fruit. The right bank of Bordeaux is famous for Merlot-based blends. California and Washington are well known for Merlot bottled as a single varietal.
Dry, medium- to full-bodied, with lower acidity and medium tannins, Merlot has hints of mulberry, cherry, strawberry, raspberry, cedar, vanilla, sage and mint. It should be served at room temperature (59–64 degrees) and pairs well with chicken, duck, turkey, full-flavored cheese, game hens, lamb chops or roast beef.