Varietal 2: Merlot | Part B: Climate Influences

Moderate Climate:  Longer growing seasons allow Merlot grapes to develop super juicy, even leaning toward tasting sweet, red fruit flavors from strawberry and cherry to red plum and raspberry.  Moderate acid and low tannins enhance the fruit flavors and let them shine in these climates.  Interesting herbal and vegetable flavors may also be present.  Due to the lower sugar levels developed in moderate climates versus warm climates, alcohol will remain moderate and will result in fresher, fruit-forward wine styles than the varietal’s warm climate wines.

Warm Climate:  Merlot from warmer climates most closely mimics the flavors of warm climate Cabernet Sauvignon.  Warmer temperatures plus a shorter growing season result in high sugar levels and higher alcohol in the finished wine.  Lower acidity levels than Cabernet can cause stewed fruit flavors to overwhelm the wine and coupled with higher alcohol, can leave the wine flat and warm.  Many wine makers compensate for this by blending with Cabernet to add acidity and fruit flavors making the blended wines full, balanced and satisfying.