International Merlot Day 2018

 7th November is International Merlot Day

Magnificent Merlots

Merlot is rightly regarded as a “go to” option offering ripe, fruity and softly textured wines, with attractive aromas of plums, dark berries and chocolate.  It is also the variety of Petrus, one of the world’s most expensive and sought-after wines.  But its reputation took something of a knock in the cult 2004 movie “Sideways”, when the lead character, Miles, famously protests “if anyone orders Merlot, I am leaving.  I am not drinking [expletive deleted] Merlot!”  That was also a rather expensive outburst for the California wine industry, which had some serious replanting to do.


With International Merlot Day is coming up on 7 November, there should be some retailer promotions around with alleged “discounts” on offer.  But you don’t have to be Miles to find a lot of mass market Merlot rather disappointing and, standing in the supermarket wine aisle, it can be difficult to tell which are genuinely good value, rather than simply discounted to where they probably should be priced in the first place.
Spoiler alert for those who haven’t yet seen it (and really you should), “Sideways” ends with Miles reverentially opening and drinking his trophy bottle of 1961 Cheval Blanc … which is ironically 50% Merlot.  But here are some rather more affordable ideas for those of us who will never get to try 1961 Cheval Blanc or, indeed, Petrus!


First up and definitely at the bargain end of the market is an unpretentious Merlot from California. It’s probably just the sort of wine Miles would be sniffy about, a blend of more than one year so it doesn’t carry a vintage on the label, but it is a straightforward and well-priced quaffing wine.

Morrisons Myton Hill Merlot

Morrisons Myton Hill Merlot  🇺🇸
From: Morrisons 
Price: £4.00
The Wotwine panel thinks this is worth: £6.00
Tasting note:
Light, fruity wine with candied strawberries and red cherries, dill and cut herbs.


We tend to steer away from the major brands like Hardy’s as they are often not great value but occasionally they surprise us.  This is a fairly priced, albeit relatively simple but solidly-made wine, with a bit more weight than the Myton Hill.

ASDA Hardys Nottage Hill Merlot

Hardy’s Nottage Hill Merlot 2016 🇦🇺
From: Asda
Price: £5.00
The Wotwine panel thinks this is worth: £5.00
Tasting note:
Simple, manufactured wine, feels a bit older than its age. Sweet cherries  and vanilla oak


Also from Australia, but something of a step up in quality, this has a little bottle age to develop some extra complexity.  It is also on special offer until early November and a real bargain at that price!

Morrisons Ferngrove Merlot

Ferngrove Reserve Merlot 2013 🇦🇺
From: Morrisons
Price: £6.75 (but currently on offer at two for £10)
The Wotwine panel thinks this is worth: £8.00
Tasting note:
Ripe, balanced, interesting wine with restrained bramble fruit and a touch of spice.


Wotwine has also picked out a Merlot from Hawkes Bay in New Zealand that delivers above its price point.

TESCO Wairu Cove Merlot

Wairu Cove Merlot 2016    🇳🇿
From: Tesco
Price: £6.50
The Wotwine panel thinks this is worth: £8.00
Tasting note:
Nicely made, fresh wine with juicy red cherries and red currants. Easy drinking, refreshing wine.


Finally, a Merlot-dominant blend from its spiritual home on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. Fronsac is a less fashionable village but one that often delivers above its price point.

LIDL Chateau Saint Remy Merlot

Chateau Saint Remy, Fronsac 2017 🇫🇷
From: Lidl
Price: £6.99
The Wotwine panel thinks this is worth: £7.50
Tasting note:
Soft, round, balanced wine with ripe fruit and spicy oak.


And that’s our recommendations for International Merlot Day 2018 – enjoy!
*Note – Prices and availability correct at time of research, we cannot guarantee that all stores stock the listed items and price may vary or be subject to change.
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