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Merlot - Blauer Portugieser

Merlot - Blauer Portugieser

For most winemakers in Austria, Blauer Portugieser is a filler, grape, used in blends or for house wines. We don't buy these, we buy from people who give the grape the same attention as the more popular grapes and make delicious wines. Like a lot of "neglected" grapes, it is simply lack of attention in planting or winemaking that makes so many of the wines simple. Just like Swiss Chasselas, Blauer Portugieser vines give prolific yields and has low acidity. Just like Swiss Chasselas, Portugieser wines were meant to be drunk in their youth and considered not suited to long-term cellaring. And - no surprise here - just as Swiss Chasselas there's no reason they cannot age magnificently with proper winemaking, or make truly impressive wines. A medium ruby colour with a fruity, grape juice kind of nose. There are also some aromas of plum and red cherry. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied with low tannins and with moderately low acidity. On the palate, it tastes of grape with some cherry and raspberry fruit. Very smooth.

Merlot, although often used as a grape for blending (often with Cabernet Sauvignon), is a grape that produces some excellent single variety wine. It can be glorious on its own as seen in some of the wines from Pomerol and St. Emillion and this glory can be found in other expressions of the grape throughout the world.

A few places in Italy grow Merlot for this purpose and there are also excellent Merlots created in Valais and Thermenregion in Switzerland, but in that country it is to Ticino that we turn to find some wonderful single variety Merlot wines.

Ticino is of course right next to Italy and that is the language predominantly spoken there. Here they make Merlot into both red and white wine. Unlike the majority of ‘White Merlot’ this really is a white wine and not a rosé.

There seems no doubt that Merlot originated in France but it has spread throughout the world and can be found in most winemaking countries.

Following much DNA analysis and some archaeological searching worthy of a Dan Brown novel, it has now been established that Merlot is the offspring of Cabernet Franc and Magdeleine Noire des Charentes. It has other well-known siblings – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cot and the grape that was so often confused with Merlot, Carmenère.

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  • Douce Noire Domaine des Abeilles d'Or

    Silk and cashmere in a glass
  • Blauer Portugieser Classic Weingut Christian Fischer

    A juicy delight from Fischer.
  • Riflessi d'Epoca Guido Brivio

    "made the old way" Ticino Merlot
  • Touché Guido Brivio

    The perfectly balanced Merlot - fruit and body, still at a nice price, just right. "Touché" indeed.
  • Platinum Guido Brivio

    A masterpiece of concentration.
  • Dogaia Guido Brivio

    An extremely clever red blend. For those who like mineral reds but want a full body too
  • Terre Alte Bianco Gialdi

    Back soon. Fruity, fresh, but with surprising texture.
  • Sassi Grossi Gialdi

    One of my favourite Merlots anywhere!
  • Merlot Neuberg Alexs

    Fantastic Merlot from South Austria
  • Cuvée XXI Weingut Christ

    Vienna Bordeaux Blend - a bargain!
  • Merlot Saleggi Delea

    Merlot from Losone, Ticino
  • Cabernet Merlot Premium Weingut Christian Fischer

    A magnificent Cabernet Merlot blend from Fischer - grab it while you can.
  • Constellation

    The first attempt ambitious international blend of Valais Native grapes.
  • Point Cuvée Weingut Nigl

  • Anna Christina Franz / Christine Netzl

    Always amongst the best reds in Austria.
  • Baiocco Guido Brivio

    A crowd pleaser both for Merlot lovers and a surprise to the "I don't like Merlot" crowd.
  • Arzo Gialdi

    From the village of Arzo near Mendrizio comes this classic southern Ticino Merlot.
  • Trentasei Gialdi

    A supremely elegant Merlot. 36 months in barrel and smooth as silk
  • Electus Valais Mundi

    A wine created to raise expectations about Swiss wine to a whole new level.
  • Edles Tal Franz / Christine Netzl

    pulls off the elusive combination of power and finesse.
  • Contrada Bianco di Merlot Guido Brivio

    We're out of Terre Alte so you get Contrada at the price of Terre Alte :)
  • Grain Noir Marie-Therese Chappaz

    Cabernet and Merlot in Alpine purity
  • Cabernet Sauvignon Margalit

    Cult Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot "Empreinte" Cave de La Cote Uvavins

    Back mid June!

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Although popular for its generous harvests, the variety has poor disease resistance (mildew and grey rot are a particular concern) and requires careful maintenance in the vineyard to make good wine.

Despite the suggestion of the grape's name of having a Portuguese origin, ampelographers have uncovered little evidence to suggest that this is the case. It is often said that the Austrian, Johann von Fries, brought it from Oporto to his estates near Voslau in 1772. Until recently and for that reason, it was called Kékoportó in Hungary. There is evidence to indicate that by the 19th century, the grape was widely established in Austria and that it was then that cuttings were brought to Germany.

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