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Merlot, France

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.
Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More-so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.

Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.

Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)

The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
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  1. Chateau Petit Picoron Bordeaux 2016
    Founded in 1570 by the Picoron family, Château Picoron has a long history of wine. Now days, Château Picoron is operated by an Australian family. What we produce is as much a celebration of the history of our winery, ... Learn More
  2. Chateau Canon 2018
    Château Canon is a Premier Grand Cru Classé château in Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux. It owns pockets of vineyards close to Saint-Émilion town, with a large core parcel right on the very edge. ... Learn More
    Chateau Canon 2018
    $329.00 Per item
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    James Suckling
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  3. Chateau Canon 2016
    Château Canon is a Premier Grand Cru Classé château in Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux. It owns pockets of vineyards close to Saint-Émilion town, with a large core parcel right on the very edge. ... Learn More
    Chateau Canon 2016
    $329.00 Per item
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    James Suckling
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    Robert Parker
  4. Chateau Belair Monange 2018
    Château Bélair-Monange is a Bordeaux winery and vineyard rated as a Grand Cru Classé B in the classification of Saint-Émilion estates. It makes red wine based on Merlot with a subsidiary component of Cabernet Franc. It was ... Learn More
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    James Suckling
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    Jeb Dunnuck
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