Is Merlot Sweet?

Any wine connoisseur has tasted a tipple or two of merlot in their time. In fact, merlot is probably one of the most popular red wines across the globe. It is America’s second favorite red after a Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Merlot is made from red grapes which can be produced in a range of different climates which is why you’ll often find so many different merlots on the shelves at such diverse price ranges.

The good news is though, whether you’re after a cheap or expensive bottle, a velvety and plummy drink, or a rich and oaky one, there’s a merlot out there for you.

Throughout this article, we’ll talk about all things merlot and go into more detail about the wine, including what it tastes like, whether or not it’s sweet, how to serve and what food it pairs well with. 

Is Merlot Sweet?

What Does Merlot Mean?

Merlot comes from the French language and it means ‘the little blackbird.’ It is also the specific type of grape that is used to produce wine. 

What Does Merlot Taste Like?

As previously mentioned, merlot can grow in many climates and the grapes that you grow in those climates will influence the taste of the wine. So a merlot can really vary from bottle to bottle.

Merlot can also be quite difficult to grow, and so it’s not uncommon for a cheap merlot to be of poorer quality. After all, you get what you pay for. 

Usually though, a merlot should be fairly dry and medium-full bodied. It tends to be a little acidic, and moderately high in alcohol content with soft tannins.

The very best Merlots should have an abundance of flavors that you can note including black cherry, plum, cocoa, cedar, blackberries, clove, or vanilla. 

Is Merlot Sweet Or Dry?

Merlot doesn’t often tend to be sweet. It is usually a dry wine. Yes, a merlot can have a ripe fruit flavor such as plum and cherry, but that won’t make it sweet because that comes from the sugar content. 

When merlot is being made and the grapes have been crushed, the sugar from the fruit gets turned into alcohol which is what makes a dry wine.

Sometimes with wine not all of the sugar is converted and that can make it a little sweeter, but in most cases of merlot, there is not much sugar that does not get converted. 

How Many Calories Are In Merlot?

Now you may have read the last section and thought, well if merlot has barely any sugar it mustn’t have any calories. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately, that isn’t quite the case. 

Alcohol itself tends to have calories and so will your merlot. If you treat yourself to a 5-ounce glass of merlot you’ll be looking at approximately 125 calories, splurge out on a 750ml bottle and that increases to around 625 calories. 

However, a dry wine will be quite low on carbs, usually, it’s anywhere between 0-4g of carbohydrates per bottle. 

How Do You Serve Merlot?

It’s no secret that there are hundreds of rules and regulations when it comes to wine (not that you’re forced to stick to them) and merlot isn’t an exception.

If you want to look like you know your stuff when it comes to wine, you’ll want to ensure that you’re serving your merlot correctly. 

At one time it was always said that you should serve red wine at room temperature, but this rule isn’t really followed anymore.

You don’t want to serve it too warm as the alcohol will be warm and the flavors will muddle, too cold though and the flavors will be too muted.

You want to serve your merlot at around 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results. To get your wine to this temperature all you need to do is stick it in the fridge for approximately fifteen minutes. 

If you don’t finish your bottle, just replace the cork and pop it back in the fridge and it should last for at least another couple of days before you lose the flavor. 

What Foods Pair Best With Merlot?

Merlot is a really versatile wine that pairs well with many different styles of dishes thanks to the abundance of varieties the wine has itself. 

A very fruity merlot will go great with any dark or white meat such as pork, turkey, or chicken.

And it even pairs great with quick and easy foods like pizza, pasta, and burgers which are a great choice for when you’ve been at work all day and can’t really be bothered to cook. 

What Foods Pair Best With Merlot?

If you have a more full-bodied and ripe merlot (these usually tend to have a higher alcohol content) then you should pair it with fuller flavor, heartier meals such as lamb or beef, bean dishes, and game such as venison or bison.  

Then there are particularly savory merlots and these pair divinely with some nice roasted meat and mushrooms. Delicious. 

Final Thoughts

Merlot certainly isn’t the sweetest wine option available, in fact, it’s a rather dry wine, so if you are hoping for something sweeter it may be in your best interest to pick a different variety of wine. 

That being said, if you’ve never given a good merlot a go, you definitely should. There’s a reason it is so popular across the world and that’s because it’s a good-tasting wine.

And there are so many different variations of merlot out there, there should be at least one bottle that tends to your specific tastes. 

However, like with all alcoholic beverages, it is important to drink in moderation. A glass of wine a night with an evening meal is fine, but you’ll tend to find that a merlot can go down quite easily despite some bottles having a fairly high ABV percentage.

Ensure that when you are drinking that you are always drinking responsibly. 

Rachel Edwards
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