Let’s talk about what a fantastic variety Merlot is for accompanying dinner. This medium bodied red wine can be round and silky, making it a great wine to bring to the table. So, here is a quick and easy guide on pairing Merlot with food!
Quick tip: match the wine with food using by using the wine in marinades and sauces.
Consider the flavors of the wine, and create a match by incorporating or complementing those flavors in the food:
Start with one of these proteins to pair with Merlot:
And/or include ingredients that connect the wine with the food (aka “bridge ingredients”):
Herbs (especially thyme)
Noah Fox Reed, currently the winemaker at Tinte Cellars, once suggested pairing Merlot with food you normally pair with Cabernet Sauvignon. Think grilled or roasted beef, lamb, and duck.
Although red wines have been known to be traditionally served with red meat, vegetarians should not despair! Try a dish such as farrotto, a preparation made in the style of risotto that substitutes the rice with the ancient grain farro. It’s got a richer flavor, and the dish has more weight to it making it perfect for fall and pairing with Merlot.
One of my favorite Merlot pairings comes from a friend – a cherry and basil salad with balsamic onions. Instead of lettuce she uses basil leaves. There are some lovely cherry infused balsamic vinegars that can be used to make a vinaigrette dressing. Give it a try during cherry season!
Whether we’re celebrating Merlot Month in October, International Merlot Day in November, or just a regular weeknight, Merlot is a variety we tend to keep on hand at home for regular uncorking. It’s a softer red wine than some other varieties, and it suits the type of foods I often prepare for dinner. What are you serving up with Merlot? Head on over to Instagram and spill it!