Merlot Revisited

In preparation for an upcoming tasting of Merlot, I have done quite a bit of research on the grape, its best soils, and its best regions. I thought I would share with you what I have learned in the form of a quiz. You are welcome!

1) The Merlot grape can best be described as:
a) Early ripening with thick skin
b) Early ripening with thin skin
c) Late ripening with thick skin
d) Late ripening with thin skin

2) The Merlot grape has a flavor profile similar to that of:
a) Pinot Noir
b) Zinfandel
c) Cabernet Sauvignon
d) Sangiovese

3) Sandy soils:
a) Retain water and are acidic
b) Retain water and are alkaline
c) Do not retain water and are acidic
d) Do not retain water and are alkaline

4) The region known for its ‘crasse de fer’ soil is:
a) St. Émilion
b) Fronsac
c) Pomerol
d) Listrac

5) Two of the best regions in the US for Merlot are:
a) Sonoma and Virginia
b) Napa and Washington
c) Long Island and Washington
d) Central Coast and Oregon

6) Two other major players in the production of Merlot are:
a) Spain and Italy
b) Canada and Switzerland
c) Australia and Argentina
d) Italy and Chilé

Bonus Question #1 What is the connection between water retention and pH balance of the soil?
Bouns Question #2 What does ‘crasse de fer’ mean?
Extra Credit When was the last time you had a really good Merlot? What was it? Describe it.

Answers to be posted next week. Or you can look them up in Exploring Wine by CIA, Grapes and Wine by Oz Clark, The Wine Bible by Karen McNeil, The world Atlas of Wine by Johnson/Robinson



4 comments on “Merlot Revisited

  1. I’ll give it a try:

    1 – b)

    2 – c)

    3 – c)

    4 – c)

    5 – b)

    6 – Tricky since Italy is a major producer, but I am not sure Spain or Chile are…so I go with c), because both are definitely bigger producers

    7 – If a soil cannot retain water well, the soil becomes acidic. Same is true for dehydrated bodies.

    8 – literally it is “iron grime”, but it refers to the oxidizing iron ore mixed with soil

    9 – I have to say the Bargetto Merlot I wrote about a few weeks ago. It was wonderfully raspberry-fruited with some mint, light yet with depth and wonderful clarity.

  2. foxress says:

    Yeah, Oliver! Thanks for playing.

  3. 1. B
    2. C
    3. C
    4. C
    5. B
    6. D I am always surprised to see single variety Merlot from Italy.
    B1. dryness is caused with lack of water/PH retension
    B2. Heavy in iron; iron rich.
    Extra credit; Gordon Bros 2007 Merlot out of Washington State:
    Deep dark ruby in color, full-bodied, with rich aromas of spice, black cherry and even flower petals. Very worthy:

    Also Napa Cellars is affordable and a big hit at dinner parties.

    Thanks for making my brain work today!

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