Wine Lists

Top merlot to try

By Halliday Promotion

8 Nov, 2021

Juicy, silky and oh-so drinkable. Put these single-variety Australian merlots on your list.

International Merlot Day may have been and gone (November 7), but this variety is worth celebrating year-round. Merlot's plush fruit flavours and silky smooth tannins have long seen it blended alongside varieties such as cabernet sauvignon and malbec, most famously in Bordeaux. Now, Australian single-variety styles are gaining prominence for their easy-drinking nature and abundance of food-pairing potential. Drink them young for bright and fruit-forward characters, or cellar for continued complexity with age. Try these five local examples.

2018 Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Merlot
The structure and combination of oak fruit and tannin is excellent. Leafy merlot with a trace of black fruits and dark plum. The palate has a grainy texture accentuated by the chalky tannins.

Winemakers Clare and Keith Mugford say: "The fruit concentration and complexity of the 2018 merlot will see it cellar for several decades, enhancing the wine with tar and leather complexities as it ages. We suspect the challenge for many will be to resist its delicious early appeal but that’s okay, we’re happy for our wines to be enjoyed at any age."

Margaret River, WA | RRP $70 | Drink to 2030+ |

2019 Yarra Yering Merlot
Berry compote and cigar box, the softness of merlot bringing an enticing full fruit palate. Lovely subtle brown spices of clove and cardamom adding some complexity and structure. Only made in exceptional years such as 2019.

Winemaker Sarah Crowe says: “Some of the world’s most lauded wines are merlot dominant. Great examples can be seductive, deeply delicious and cellar-worthy. Enjoy with crispy eggplant chips and spiced red vinegar sauce.” 

Yarra Valley, VIC | RRP $105 | Drink to 2030 |

2018 Peccavi 'The Estate' Merlot
Aromas of black cherries and chocolate with hints of oak and dried herbs. A full-to-medium-bodied wine, it provides a long, elegant and silky texture with deep flavours of plums, berries, oak and earthy herbs.

Winemakers Jeremy Muller and Stuart Watson say: “The beauty of a good merlot is that it can be enjoyed both with and without food due to it still having the power of a great cabernet, but with slightly softer tannins.”

Margaret River, WA | RRP $150 | Drink to 2030 |

2019 Smithbrook Merlot
Pale garnet with purple hues, aromas of dark cherry and ripe plum, with savoury five spice, cinnamon and dried flowers. The densely flavoured palate is rich, textured and very soft with vanillin French oak balanced with primary red and blue fruit. Ripe, silky tannins enhance the softness of this easy drinking style, which can cellar for three to eight years.

Winemaker Ben Rector says: “The best examples of merlot produced worldwide have several things in common – they’re always soft, supple and fruit driven. Often enjoyed while young, merlot can also develop intriguing complexity it slowly ages. This blue-fruited, easy-drinking variety can be enjoyed year-round, pairing brilliantly with duck or pasta dishes.”

Pemberton, WA | RRP $25 | Drink to 2028 |

2019 Irvine Spring Hill Merlot
This wine is rich, juicy, and bursting with distinct flavours of plum, boysenberry, cherry, and mocha. This medium to full-bodied varietal has a delicate palate and a velvety softness that makes for very easy drinking.

Winemaker Lachlan Duncan says: “Merlot is a great food pairing wine, and the versatility of our Spring Hill Merlot makes it the perfect accompaniment to many red meat dishes – we personally love to enjoy it with balsamic beef short ribs.”

Barossa Valley, SA | RRP $25 | Drink to 2026 |

This article was produced in partnership with the featured wineries. Top image credit Visit Victoria.