The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2012

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Page 108 of 140

VARIETAL REPORT Blackbird The Flies Again! ONCE-MALIGNED MERLOT TAKES OFF by Ben Weinberg Merlot's name is thought to derive from the Old French word for young blackbird. That probably referred to the color of the grape's skin, but Merlot is certainly taking fl ight these days. Merlots that show character, complexity and, above all, balance, have had a serious vinous revival since the not-too-distant days when "Cabernet without the pain" got sneers from wine snobs. Today, it seems, there are three main styles of Merlot—in other words, something for everyone. Some are soft, fruity and smooth with very little tannin; think early-drinking. Some are somewhat fruity with more tannic and acid structure—great food wines. Others are brawny and highly structured, with serious aging potential for collectors. Regardless of style, adaptable, friendly Merlot deserves a place on your customer's table and on your retail shelf. 100 / the tasting panel / october 2012

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