What to Pair With Merlot - Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster | Orlando Fine Dining
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What to Pair With Merlot

Here’s what you need to know before sipping on this wine
Read Time: 2.5 minutes
Jun 5, 2020

Merlot is a medium-bodied varietal wine. The Merlot grape variety falls into the category of the three red noble grapes. It shares this throne with Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.

This dry red wine has medium tannins and boasts flavors of cherry, chocolate, bay leaf, and plum. It falls within the middle of the road acidity wise.

Decant your Merlot for 30 minutes and opt for an oversized wine glass to experience the full flavor of this dry red. It is best served at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Pairs Well with Merlot

Merlot is a fairly versatile red wine. If you’re drinking a Merlot that has more oak-aging and is higher in alcohol content then it will be more full-bodied and better paired with rich foods. In general, the average Merlot pairs well with light meats.


Merlot pairs well with beef, particularly filet mignon, especially when any sauce accompanies the dish.

Why it pairs well

  • Heavy, smokey, and sauce-accompanied beef dishes work well with a rich, medium to full-bodied glass of Merlot as it will not take away from the rich dish.


Generally, pork pairs well with Merlot as it is lighter meat. Pork loin and roast pork are the perfect options when looking to pair Merlot with a dish.

Why it pairs well

  • The medium-bodied flavor of most Merlot will not overpower pork which holds a lighter taste. Meaning the wine will not take away from the overall meal.

Tomato-based Pasta Dishes

Tomato-based (and gravy-based) pasta dishes pair nicely with Merlot because the Merlot will not change the way your dish tastes.

Why it pairs well

  • Merlot isn’t too highly acidic to alter how food tastes yet it can cut through the rich tomato-based pasta dishes (bonus points: this effect can potentially aid in digestion).
  • Tomatoes and Merlot play well together because it is both hearty and rich.

Filet Mignon

Merlot’s mid-level tannins and acidity make it a versatile wine. It’s easy tannins and smooth texture makes it a desired match to the delicate flavor of filet mignon.

Hennings Cheese Plate

The selections of cheese on this plate pairs well with Merlot’s boisterous and earthy taste. Merlot pairs best with brie, gouda, gorgonzola, parmesan, and Jarlsberg.

The History of Merlot

Merlot was first recorded to exist in 19th Century France. The mentioned came from a Bordeaux official in the year 1784.

At one point in history, Merlot was not considered to be good as a varietal wine. Varietal simply meaning the wine in question is made mostly from a single grape variety rather than a blend using secondary grapes. This isn’t so in current times. Merlot is now served as a varietal and also as a blend.

Today you can find Merlot blended with Bordeaux and Tuscan grapes or on its own as a varietal. It is most commonly grown in Bordeaux, Italy, Chile, China, and California and Washington within the United States. You will find warm climate Merlots to have bolder flavors and be more fruity. Cool climate Merlot, on the other hand, will have more earthy tones.

This grape variety has been used to produce the following offspring:

  • Merlot Blanc
  • Rebo
  • Carmine
  • Ederena

Interested in the lineage of Merlot itself? Merlot is the offspring of Cabernet Sauvignon and Magdeleine Noire des Charentes (extinct).

Try a Glass at Christner’s

If you’d like to try a glass of Merlot, visit our location in Orlando and pair it with our Filet Mignon. At Christner’s, we have more than 4,500 bottles of wine to choose from. If you would like more assistance, our in-house sommelier is happy to assist you with finding pairings.

For informational purposes only.