Merlot Taste Profile

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

Bottle of Merlot on its side.

The Merlot taste profile has a unique combination of color, flavors, aromas, and structure. These elements are referred to as wine characteristics. As mentioned in the Cab taste profile, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are very similar and can be tricky to identify between the two, but they each still have hallmark characteristics. Let’s explore the typical taste profile for Merlot.

Unique Merlot Characteristics

Each type of wine grape develops a unique combination of flavors and aromas. These flavors and aromas are influenced by things like their growing environment (climate and soil – aka terroir), the fermentation process (aka yeast converting sugar to alcohol), and maturation (such as aging in oak barrels).

Merlot is a grape that grows well in both warm and cool climates but prefers the cooler climates to prevent overripening.


The color for red wine ranges from Pale Red to Bright Ruby Red to Deep Purple. Red wine color comes from the grape skins. Grapes with thin skins and light skin color will translate to a pale red wine and will be translucent (you’ll be able to see through the wine). Grapes with thick skins and dark skin color will translate to a deep purple wine color that is opaque (in other words, you won’t be able to see much of anything through the wine).

Image shows the color range for red wine is Pale Red, Rudy, and Deep Purple. Merlot is identified as Ruby in color.

Merlot Wine Color: Ruby and midway between translucent and opaque.

Flavors & Aromas

Look for Fruit, Floral, Herbal, Vegetal, and Spice notes to identify flavors and aromas in wine.

Fruit: Red wines come in a range with cool-climate wines revealing tart red fruit notes (red cherry, raspberry, strawberry), to warm-climate wines exhibiting black fruit notes (blackberry, black cherry,