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Merlot has a reputation for producing smooth, velvety wines that vary depending upon the climate and soil type. Warm conditions on clay soils often produce soft, fruit forward styles. Cool, higher elevation sites produce wine with a slightly more austere structure. It still reigns as one of the world's most noble varieties forming the majority of the blend in Bordeaux’s right bank vineyards of Pomerol and Saint-Emilion. It is now prevalent across the world, achieving particular success in South America, California, and Washington. In central Italy, Merlot is either bottled as a varietal or blended with Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon to form Indicazione Geografica Tipica's (IGT), known as Super Tuscans.
Country: United States
Although wine is made in all 50 states, it is understandable, with almost 90% of the country's production, that California is synonymous with domestic wine. As of 2010 harvest, reports indicate that Washington, New York & Oregon account for additional 6% of production, meanwhile Virginia, Missouri and Texas's wine industries are growing to a point beyond that of just a tourist attraction.
California is one of the most diverse wine producing regions of the world. Although it has a history spanning over 200 years, it has experienced most of its growth in the last fifty years. The regions of Napa Valley and Sonoma County have become as renowned as France’s Bordeaux and Burgundy. While Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay are by far the most popular fine wine varieties, producers in the Golden State have also experimented with an unparalleled array of diverse varieties, including Zinfandel, Syrah, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, and Tempranillo.
Sub-Region: Napa Valley
The country’s most famous wine producing region, Napa Valley stretches from the North bay of San Francisco Bay in the South, all the way up to Mount Saint Helena in the North. Although the climate is suitable for a wide range of varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon is dominant and practically synonymous with the region. To account for its geographical diversity, the valley is split up into a number of AVAs. From north to south, the valley consists of Calistoga, St. Helena, Rutherford, Oakville, Yountville, and Oak Knoll. Higher elevation sites include Howell Mountain on the east and Mount Veeder on the west. On its own, Stags Leap District is tucked into the very south east corner of the valley.
Red wine is wine made from dark-coloured grape varieties. The color of red differs based on the grapes variety or varieties used.
Interestingly, black grapes yield a juice that is greenish-white. The actual red color comes from anthocyan pigments (also called anthocyanins) from the skin of the grape (exceptions are the relatively uncommon teinturier varieties, which produce a red colored juice). Most of the production centers around the extraction of color and flavor from the grape skin.