Merlot and Food Pairings
Merlot's style can be heavy like a Cabernet Sauvignon,
or light-bodied like a Pinot Noir. Generally, however, it falls somewhere
in the middle. Fruity, plush, and high in acidity are among the many
reasons why Merlot is one of North America's most popular wines.
Merlot has a lot of 'green' characteristics to it. Often you'll get a lot
of herbal, earthy and mushrooms, which makes this wine a perfect match for
herbal preparations of meat (such as marinades or herbal sauces). Meat
dishes that contain mushrooms, or olives also go extremely well with this style
of Merlot. While vegetables and Cabernet Sauvignon is rarely a good
match, Merlot can handle the bitter flavours of fennel, eggplant, broccoli, raw
onions, garlic, and even radicchio, just as long as the Merlot is not heavily oaked or sweet. So dishes like oven roasted duck with a
mushroom sauce, or a ragout of lamb with lots of black olives and thyme will pair
up really well.
Unlike Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot also pairs amazingly
well with Tuna, Salmon, or bacon wrapped prawns and scallops. Similar to
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot will pair up well with anything grilled, charred, or
plank roasted, and this style of cooking will highlight the oakier components of
Merlot is sublime with berries such as cherries, cranberries,
prunes or raisins. Especially if you select a Merlot style that is heavy on dark
chocolate and cherry flavours.
Dishes to avoid pairing Merlot up with are
delicate and subtle dishes. Merlot is simply going to be too bold and
overpower these dishes. So avoid foods that have either no fat, protein or
texture, such as steamed veggies, pasta and risotto.
You also want to
stay far away from hot and spicey foods. The capsaicin in the spices will
set your mouth ablaze when it hits the alcohol in this wine. Milder Indian
dishes are phenomenal however, especially veggie