Merlot fruit is dark blue in colour and is used as a blending grape as well as for crafting single varietal wines. The French word ‘Merle’, meaning ‘blackbird’ is thought to be the inspiration for this variety’s name owing to its dark colour. The fruit is soft and fleshy along with being an early-ripening variety. This makes it a perfect blending partner for the stern, highly tannic and late - ripening Cabernet Sauvignon variety. Merlot varietal wines are generally described as easy drinking, smooth and well rounded. Merlot wines give off lovely aromas of black cherry, vanilla and cedar from the nose while the soft, medium-bodied palate is full of raspberry, black cherry, plum, cedar, tobacco, graphite, mocha and vanilla flavours, supported by subtle oak nuances. Herbed chicken, roasted tomatoes, roast duck and Beef Bourguignon are excellent food matches for this elegant wine.