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Merlot is soft and juicy says John Gilchrist, a former UK Sommelier of the Year and winner of the Mondavi award for the best wine list in the world.  He runs Les Caulins, a gîte and cookery school in SW France, with his wife (and chef) Emma.

Emma and John

Merlot is soft and juicy:  Merlot Magic

What is there not to like about this wine?  Merlot is soft and juicy, plummy, spicy and generally yummy.  The Northern Gironde region of Blaye AOC is one of the oldest wine producing areas in the Bordeaux region, exporting wine well before the more famous Medoc region was planted.  Wine critics rave about the wines in this, often forgotten, area known for great Merlot.

North of the town of Blaye, in the commune of Fours, are the award winning wines of Château Haut-Canteloup.  The Cuvée Prestige is a real gem.  90% Merlot, a deep ruby colour with a nose of sugary baked plums, gentle vanilla, spice and blackberry compote on the palate, with super silky tannin.

In North Gironde, in Saint-Palais, you will find the talented Alexia Eymas at Château Maison-Neuve.  The 95% Cuvée Clotilde is everything that Blaye Merlot should be.  A deep, vibrant, garnet colour with aromas of jammy, black and red fruits.  As soft as a wine can be on the palate, with a sweet plum and gentle, toasted oak finish.

West of Blaye in the commune of St Mariens, Château Le Camplat and the talented Marion Reculet produce the Cuvée Prestige 85% Merlot & 15% Cabernet Franc.   The nose is sweet black cherry and raspberry with hints of woody vanilla.  The palate is mocha, plums and cedar with a slice of spicy fruitcake and ends with nice curranty, dry and soft tannins.

merlot is soft and juicy
merlot is soft and juicy

First published in the March/April 2020 issue of The Local Buzz

Images: Shutterstock

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