Cognac, Merlot

Cognac is named after the town of Cognac in France and is a variety of brandy. It is produced in the wine-growing region surrounding the town from which it takes its name. Ugni Blanc, which is known locally as Saint-Emilion, is the one most commonly used grape to produce Cognac. The region is divided in to six zones, Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Bordeies, Fins Bois, Bon Bois and lastly Bois Ordinaire, not to be confused with Champagne, the premier sparkling wine region in north east France.

Strict guidelines must be followed for a distilled brandy to be legally labelled as a Cognac by the Appellation d’origine contrôlée. Only specific grapes are allowed to be used, of which Ugni Blanc is the most common. The brandy must be distilled twice in copper pot stills and aged for a minimum of 24 months in French oak barrels from Limousis or Tronçais.

Blending is very common in Cognacs, and the age is derived from the age of the youngest grapes used in the blend. Cognacs develop and age in a similar way to Scotch Whiskies, though most Cognacs can age much longer than the legal requirement due to the time spent in the French oak barrels.
You might also like to view our wide range of Armagnacs
Merlot in Australia is not a variety you will often see unblended, until recently. It is most often used to add suppleness and mid-palate to Cabernet’s stern, serious structure. In Australia, Merlot is now achieving considerable recognition as a varietal wine. Merlot blended wines are available from the warmer inland regions, such as Riverina, Riverland and Murray Darling. Single varietal Merlot from the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale produces a softer dry plummy wine. Whereas the cooler climates such as the Yarra Valley and Margaret River tends to take on more savoury characters with firmer tannins.

It is the most widely planted grape in Bordeaux, France where planting has rapidly expanded throughout the world in the last decade. Merlot is adaptable to most soils, is relatively simple to cultivate and is a naturally high yielding. In St Emilion and Pomerol, it withstands the moist clay-rich soils far better than Cabernet, producing opulently rich, plummy wines. Le Pin, Pétrus and Clinet are examples of some of the best (and most expensive) Merlot based wines.

Merlot is now grown in virtually all wine growing countries and is particularly successful in New Zealand, California, Chile and Northern Italy. New Zealand's Hawkes Bay is producing outstanding Merlot-based blends, especially from the Gimblett Gravels.
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  1. ZILZIE 'SELECTION 23' MERLOT 2019
    As with all Zilzie wines, this represents outstanding value and superb quality for the price. Perfect every day wine from one of the oldest wine producing families in Australia. ... Learn More
  2. ZILZIE 'SELECTION 23' MERLOT 2018
    As with all Zilzie wines, this represents outstanding value and superb quality for the price. Perfect every day wine from one of the oldest wine producing families in Australia. ... Learn More
  3. NORFOLK RISE MERLOT 2017
    Lifted red berries, mint, stone fruits and sweet cherries. The palate features plum, spice and forest fruit flavours balanced by chocolate and vanilla oak notes, finishing with good length and soft fine tannins. ... Learn More
  4. NORFOLK RISE MERLOT 2016
    Lifted red berries, mint, stone fruits and sweet cherries. The palate features plum, spice and forest fruit flavours balanced by chocolate and vanilla oak notes, finishing with good length and soft fine tannins. Outstanding value! "This shows a lot of “ ... Learn More
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    Campbell Mattinson
    Out of stock
  5. THORN CLARKE 'SANDPIPER' MERLOT 2018
    12 months in tight grain French and American oak. The nose has primarily lifted strawberry and plum fruit characters. Medium-bodied with an abundance of the primary characters carried through from the nose of plum and strawberry there is also a presence ... Learn More
  6. GIESEN MERLOT 2018
    Giesen's Estate Merlot is a wine that's very approachable in youth and suitable for any occasion. The fruit is sourced from a premium Gisborne vineyard, producing a Merlot with good fruit intensity and a touch of complexity through restrained use ... Learn More
    GIESEN MERLOT 2018
    $15.99 Per item
    Out of stock
  7. PHILIP SHAW 'THE CONDUCTOR' MERLOT 2016
    The high altitude, age and aspect of Orange and in particular the Koomooloo vineyard has ideal conditions for producing a Pinot Noir of great complexity. The Conductor wears a medium colour with a bright red hue and smells of rich ... Learn More
    Out of stock
  8. KATNOOK ESTATE MERLOT 2016
    Lavishly flavoured yet supple, this powerhouse rendition should appeal to many a Merlot devotee. A complex array of ripe fruit and oak on the nose. Plum, coffee and cedar combined with subtle notes of dark chocolate and cedar. Complex layers ... Learn More
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    Ray Jordan
    Out of stock
  9. HICKINBOTHAM CLARENDON VINEYARD 'THE REVIVALIST' MERLOT 2017
    It smells comforting at first, but as the drinker delves, the bouquet unveils mossy, damp forest earth, and then fresher, leafy greens emerge with their tannins. Medium bodied, strawberry and plum, savoury, grainy graphite tannin, cool acidity, tomato paste flavour ... Learn More
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    Huon Hooke
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    James Halliday's Wine Companion
  10. HICKINBOTHAM THE REVIVALIST MERLOT 2018
    The Revivalist has a powerful bouquet of black cherry, milk chocolate and a touch of bay laurel. Bold flavours of blackberries and barrel toast are enveloped in a lush mouthfeel. Hardly lacking in structure, the wine is incredibly balanced with ... Learn More
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    James Halliday's Wine Companion
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    Gary Walsh
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    Nick Stock
  11. HICKINBOTHAM CLARENDON VINEYARD 'THE REVIVALIST' MERLOT 2016
    100% Merlot matured in French oak for 15 months. ... Learn More
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    Huon Hooke
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    James Halliday's Wine Companion
    Out of stock
  12. HICKINBOTHAM CLARENDON VINEYARD 'THE REVIVALIST' MERLOT 2015
    100% Merlot matured in French oak for 15 months. ... Learn More
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    James Halliday
    Out of stock
  13. CHATEAU FRANC MAYNE 2019 (EN PRIMEUR - DELIVERY 2022)
    A Grand Cru Classe of Saint-Emilion, Chateau Franc Mayne enjoys an exceptional location in the prestigious appellation. Owned by the Savare family since 2018, Chateau Franc Mayne is enjoying a great momentum of renewal. The property is beautifully represented by the ... Learn More
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    Decanter
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    Wine Enthusiast
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    Antonio Galloni
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    The Wine Advocate
    Out of stock
  14. MERITE ULTRA MERLOT 2015
    Vinification: Picking date determined by berry sensory analysis. Hand-picked and sorted by clonal batches. Fully-destemmed then lightly crushed, fermentation in small stainless-steel vats by clonal batches at 23c with remontage twice-daily for 7 days. Racked into barrels to complete fermentation then ... Learn More
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    James Halliday
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    Jancis Robinson
    Out of stock
  15. DUDOGNON NAPOLEAN - 15YEARS
    Goes well with a cigar at room temperature, very fine cognac. Light shiny yellow. ... Learn More
  16. TESSERON COGNAC LOT NO. 90 XO OVATION 'SELECTION'
    Made from the finest terroirs in Cognac –Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Petite Champagne and Fins Bois – Lot n°90's unique character comes from long ageing in oak barrels, which adds richness and complexity. Aromas of very fresh pear & quince notes ... Learn More
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    Wine and Spirits Magazine
  17. PAUL GIRAUD 'VIEILLE RESERVE' GRANDE CHAMPAGNE COGNAC - 25 YEARS
    Soft, delicate, sweetish nose like stone fruit. Palate shows subtle, honeyed fruit, long length of plums & prunes, showing its twenty five year age. From culture to distillation, Paul Giraud gives priority to ancestral know-how to best serve the expression of ... Learn More
  18. DUDOGNON RESERVE DES ANCETRES  - 30 YEARS
    A full-throttle bouquet as well-defined notes of vanilla, paraffin, and ripe grapes fill the nasal cavity ... Learn More
  19. PAUL GIRAUD 'TRES RARE' GRANDE CHAMPAGNE COGNAC - 40 YEARS
    A true reflection of a forty years old Cognac. Old brandy that has remained for many years in oak barrels. Its characteristics are more assertive, with aromas of rancio, cigar box, leather and spicy fragrances. Very complex nose and palate, ... Learn More
  20. TESSERON COGNAC LOT 53 XO 'PERFECTION'
    This cognac borders on perfection - finesse and complexity. Aromatic and heady that only years of aging in oak casks could give it. It exudes woody notes, dried fruit and tobacco. Very rich and generous. An extremely attractive cognac, opulent, ... Learn More
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    Robert Parker
    Out of stock
  21. PAUL GIRAUD 'HERITAGE' GRANDE CHAMPAGNE COGNAC  - 60 YEARS
    Very old eau-de-vie aged in Limousin oak barrels, with exacerbated aromas of rancio, oxidation, aging characteristics pushed to their peak. Very long on the palate, in the end sweet and tasty. From culture to distillation, Paul Giraud gives priority to ... Learn More
  22. TESSERON COGNAC LOT 76 XO TRADITION (1750ML)
    An exceptional blend of the best reserves of Grande Champagne Cognac, aged to perfection in old wood barrels. Lot 76 immediately establishes its quality at the nose: a profusion of aromas of caramelised peaches, almonds and candied fruits sublimated by a ... Learn More
  23. COGNAC TESSERON LOT NO. 29 XO 'EXCEPTION'
    A unique blend of legendary Grande Champagne, the cream of our oldest and rarest stocks, lovingly aged for at least three generations. ... Learn More
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    Robert Parker
    Out of stock
  24. CHATEAU PETRUS 1971
    The panoply of exotic aromas and flavors typically encompasses black raspberry, mulberry, iron, cocoa powder, truffle and expensive new oak. Petrus bottlings are generally 100% Merlot, although some vintages will contain 2-3% of Cabernet Franc. The vineyard itself is planted to 95% ... Learn More
    CHATEAU PETRUS 1971
    $7,000.00 Per item
    Out of stock
  25. CHATEAU PETRUS 2016
    The 2016 Pétrus just coats the tongue right away with alluring raspberry and loganberry fruit, full of spice aromas and a gorgeous anise streak. A black tea note echoes through the finish, which is broad and rich yet defined and, ... Learn More
    CHATEAU PETRUS 2016
    $7,500.00 Per item
    pts
    Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW
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    James Suckling
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    Jeannie Cho Lee MW
    Out of stock
  26. CHATEAU PETRUS 1990
    The 1990 Petrus remains incredibly young, one of the least evolved wines of the vintage (along with Montrose and Beausejour-Duffau). This dense ruby/purple-colored effort is beginning to hint at the massive richness and full-bodied intensity lurking beneath its wall of ... Learn More
    CHATEAU PETRUS 1990
    $12,000.00 Per item
    pts
    Jeannie Cho Lee MW
    Out of stock
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