October is Merlot Month!

All through the month of October and beyond, we’ll be celebrating one of the world’s most popular grapes. You’ll see the hashtag #MerlotMe popping up on social media everywhere as more than 100 wineries celebrate with fans of this classic varietal. It culminates on International Merlot Day on November 7.

Vineyard Manager Steve Carter Talks Merlot

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10 Reasons to Love Merlot

Merlot has a long and rich history. Amaze your friends with these fast, fun facts about one of the world's most popular grapes!

  • Merlot is the second leading red grape variety planted in California, just behind Cabernet
    Sauvignon. Worldwide, there are 600,000 acres of Merlot planted.
  • The 2014 J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot was awarded 95 points and Gold / Best of Class of Region from the California State Fair Wine Competition!
  • Merlot grapes are identified by their thin skin and fairly loose bunches of large berries. The color has less of a bluish and black hue than Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Merlot is an early ripening varietal; the grapes tend to have higher sugars than Cabernet Sauvignon and fewer tannins.
  • Merlot is one of the primary grapes of Bordeaux. The variety is best know there on the Right Bank, in the areas of St. Emilion and Pomerol. Merlot forms the backbone of one of the most sought-after, expensive Bordeaux reds: Petrus.
  • The name Merlot is thought to be a diminutive of “merle,” the French name for the blackbird, perhaps because the birds favored the early-ripening, sweeter berries.
  • J. Lohr’s Creston Vineyard is largely devoted to Merlot. It is located in Templeton, seven miles southeast of J. Lohr’s Home Ranch in Paso Robles. The Creston Vineyard receives a cooling, maritime influence through the Templeton Gap and is often 4 to 5 degrees F. cooler than the nearby Home Ranch.
  • The first vintage of our Estates Merlot was the 1997 release. Today, the J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot can be found nationwide and is one of America’s most popular red wines.
  • The J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot is named for the “Los Osos soil series” that predominates throughout our Merlot plantings. The Los Osos series consists of moderately deep, well drained soils that formed from weathered sandstone and shale. These soils have proven ideal for growing world-class Merlot.
  • Researchers at University of California, Davis have identified that Merlot is an offspring of Cabernet Franc and is a sibling of Carménère and Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • The J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot is extremely food-versatile. It is an excellent pairing for herb-roasted chicken, lamb preparations, tomato-sauced pastas, or just about anything off the grill!

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Merlot Recipes

Merlot is one of the most versatile, food-friendly red wines. We asked well-known chefs to create a recipe paired to the J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot. These top toques outdid themselves – their recipes are here, ready for your kitchen.

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Join The Merlot Conversation

Share your love of Merlot using #MerlotMe throughout October. Be sure to follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as we celebrate all things Merlot!