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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.

A typical 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 the wine.

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 samosas.
Written by: Joel Baxter

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136  Pairings
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Duck Red Wine Merlot 1 rating(s)
Indian Cuisine Red Wine Merlot 1 rating(s)
Meatloaf Red Wine Merlot 1 rating(s)
Pepperoni Pizza Red Wine Merlot 1 rating(s)
Steak Filet Mignon Red Wine Merlot 1 rating(s)
Beef Red Wine Merlot 1 rating(s)
Beef Prime Rib Red Wine Merlot 1 rating(s)
Beets Red Wine Merlot 1 rating(s)
Blue Cheese Red Wine Merlot 1 rating(s)
Cheddar Cheese Red Wine Merlot 1 rating(s)
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