variety was once relegated to blending status, but in the
last 20 years it has taken on an identity of its own. When
varietally bottled, Merlot has herbal and fruity flavors
similar to Cabernet, but also has a smooth and supple character
in the mouth without the bite of tannins. It complements
the same types of food that Cabernet does, albeit less distinctly.
Top producers hail from Bordeaux (where the wine is mostly
blended with Cabernet but sometimes bottled separately,
depending on the region), Chile, Argentina, Napa, Sonoma and Washington state. Other successful regions in the U.S.
include Virginia and Long Island, New York.