Drink up on Merlot Day
No one really needs an excuse to drink wine, but if you are looking for one, International Merlot Day on Saturday 7 November is as good a reason as any to pop open a bottle of red. This dark purple, berry-rich varietal has long been a staple on the South African vino scene, but it seems the cultivar has garnered more attention of late as a wine that people should take note of. At the 2015 Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards, Merlot was well represented amongst the top vintages that won trophies, platinum and double gold medals. Clearly, those in the know are staring to see something they really like in this wine. So, if you're already a Merlot fan, it seems you’re right on trend, and if you're not, maybe International Merlot Day is a good occasion to give the red another go. If you're wondering what bottle to buy, opt for one of the five suggestions below – they're all wines that got the Michelangelo judges nodding.
- Bloemendal Waterlily Merlot from Bloemendal Wine Estate: its nose is all mulberry and blackcurrant and it’s dry but well structured on the palate.
- Jason’s Hill Merlot from Jason’s Hill Private Cellar: a classic full-bodied wine with a soft mouth feel.
- D'Aria Merlot from D'Aria Winery: a wooded, medium-body wine that’s a perfect partner to stews, roast lamb and game meat.
- Lanzerac Merlot from Lanzerac Wine Estate: this well-balanced vino offers the unusual combination of red berries, cocoa, mint and chocolate on the nose and is great with tomato-rich dishes and rabbit casserole.
- Ridgeback Merlot from Ridgeback Wines: the juicy yet spicy taste of this vino goes swimmingly with a wide range of meat dishes, ostrich in particular.