Merlot, New Zealand

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.
The New Zealand wine industry is one of the younger wine regions in the world, whose popularity grew immensely when Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc hit the world wine scene, quite unique in style when compared to the typical French Sancerre.

Wine is successfully cultivated on both the North and South islands from a latitude of 36 degrees in the North to 45 degrees for the most southerly wine region in the world, the south Island's Central Otago. The majority of regions are located in free-draining alluvial valleys except for Waiheke Island and Kawarau Gorge in Central Otago and benefit from the moderating effect of the maritime climate as no vineyard is more than 80 miles from the ocean. With plentiful sunshine hours and cool evening sea breezes, the grapes thrive.

Sauvignon Blanc is the major white variety people will think of when you mention New Zealand Whites, however fantastic Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and less commonly Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Blanc. Pinot Noir is the most widely planted red variety in New Zealand although Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot (Bordeaux Blends), Syrah are also grown and in even smaller amounts, Tempranillo and Montepulcianos can too be found. Sparkling wines of very high standards are also made in New Zealand.

The key wine regions in New Zealand include Auckland, Canterbury, Central Otago, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Marlborough and Nelson.
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  1. 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
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