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Requested Recipe:


"Do you have a recipe for Merlot?" Tom, not further identified


The merlot grape is the second most planted variety of Vitis vinifera in the world, and the most planted grape in Bordeaux. It is most associated with St. Emilion and Pomerol, but its recent ascension over the Cabernet Sauvignon as the most popular red wine grape makes it a favorite almost everywhere new vines are planted. It is less tannin and fuller bodied than the Cabernet, but drinkable young while still cellaring well. Blended with Cabernet or Syrah, the wine acquires both tannin and body that promises longer life and more complexity than any of the blended wines possess individually.

Merlot Noir is hugely more popular than it's sibbling Merlot Blanc. The recipe below is for the black grape.

(Recipe for 5 gallons)

Pick grapes when fully ripe, discarding any spoiled grapes from clusters. Crush and destem the grapes. Add pectic enzyme and tsp potassium metabisulfite to the crush and stir with wooden paddle. Cover and set aside overnight. Adjust acid if required and stir in yeast nutrient, Oak-Mor and activated yeast. Recover primary and punch down cap twice daily during primary fermentation. When free sulfur drops below 15 ppm (10 ppm is better), inoculate with malo-lactic culture. When specific gravity drops to 1.000, strain solids into press and extract remaining juice. Transfer wine to secondary and attach airlock. After 1 month, rack to sanitized carboy, top up and reattach airlock. Monitor MLF with chromatography and rack again when completed, adding tsp potassium metabisulfite at racking. Conduct four more rackings, 1 month apart, adding tsp potassium metabisulfite after second and last (4th) racking. Wine should clear on its own. If not, let sit another two months, rack, sulfite again, wait 14-21 days, then bottle -- or blend with another red and then bottle. Cellar 6 months before tasting. [Author's own recipe]

My thanks to Tom (not further identified) for this request.

This page was updated on September 28th, 2001

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