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October 05, 2005

Merlot-what's in a grape to make it taste the way it does? A question commonly asked by those who do not attend frequent wine tastings. Who knows? The experts tell us that it's because of the natural flavour components in fruit and veg that also appear in the flavour profile of wine. So you can taste blackberries even though no berries or berry extract was added.

This brings us to merlot. What's in a merlot. So many people used to say they like drinking merlot because it's softer yet lots of merlot's are heavily oaked and can be dried out and tannic. My favourite merlot is one by Martin Meinert simply called Meinert Merlot and has no new wood. Very smooth and elegant. Not that I am against new wood but delicate fruit flavours should not be masked by oak but rather enhanced by it.

Then off course there is Pomerol, no one can deny that these fabulous wines do not benefit the use of wood and maturation. Smoother you can't get but then I've never had a Pomerol that has been bottled recently or a tank sample, whereas many South African Merlot's are tasted and released this way.

Food-So what would you have with merlot? I would go for a fruity dish like a beef stew with no blackpepper or Cock Au Vin maybe. Any good matches from your side?

Question of the week? What is your favourite merlot? Country and area?

Wine events- Wine X is around the corner. Johannesburg's biggest wine show with over 300 farms and many more wines. Not to be missed. Book at Computicket. Takes place at the Sandton Convention Centre 25-29 October.

Tokara- is finally releasing there wines to the industry at a function held at the Westcliff Hotel. Not open to the public but you can now look forward to seeing the wines in retail stores soon.

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