You cannot get rid of a good thing. Merlot may have gotten too popular for its own good, causing fashion-conscious drinkers to drop it, but it never went away. Like carrot cake, it’s still on the shelf, still pleasing fans, and maybe ready for a comeback.
Merlot was popular because it was easy to order. Even a novice could get the word out without fear of the waiter saying, “pardon me.” Ease of pronunciation is important in wine?— some would argue even more important than taste. But Merlot was a star in the taste department too.
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Plummy is a word that wine experts use to describe the instantly appealing flavour and feeling of Merlot. It feels nourishing, a tad sweet but very wholesome — just like carrot cake. Most guys will select the hearty Cabernet with their steak but if the woman is choosing she’ll usually pick Merlot. Many women prefer the soft, sensual touch of Merlot. It feels romantic.
Trumpeter Merlot never went out of favour because it has a cult following. Not the most seen wine at parties but a favourite with those who make their own discoveries. It is lush, and warmhearted with a sense of the earth. Argentina reds have that quality. I think you’ll find Trumpeter to be a good companion on a winter evening.
Errazuriz is the classic plummy Merlot. Rich, smooth and eager to please. Might be a shade too nice or too perfect, but not to a Merlot fan.
•P.S. Read about this Saturday’s Vintages recommendations at www.billysbestbottles.com(weekly picks).
Billy Munnelly is author, wine critic and publisher of the most useful wine book on the market, Billy's Best Bottles Wines for 2007, a guide to the best wines at the LCBO. Available in bookstores or at www.billysbestbottles.com. For LCBO Vintages recommendations, wine events and in-home wine tastings, visit www.billysbestbottles.com.