Merlots at the best value for money in the world | Wine-Searcher News and Features
Usually vilified or revered, Merlot has become a curiously polarizing varietal – but it still offers great value.
For Merlot lovers, it is often tempting to ask “how did it come to this?” “
With the exception of Riesling, it’s hard to think of a more polarizing example of “noble” grapes than Merlot. Some revere it, others reject it. For some, it will be forever associated with Sideways and, for others, with Petrus, which is the most famous of the wines made from Merlot.
Merlot tends to be generous, approachable, smooth, and – an overwhelming phrase – “easy to drink.” Admittedly, the acidic and tannic structures are not as difficult as some other grape varieties, which made Merlot immediately attractive to a large part of the wine-consuming public. Perhaps it is this very popularity that makes some wine “educators” laugh at him.
Many arguments against Merlot are based on its immediate and straightforward appeal. Too often it can be seen as bland, straightforward, and simply a blend varietal. The famous anti-Merlot rant in the movie Sideways further reinforced this notion in the minds of many.
However, such reasoning is wrong at best and often downright malicious. He ignores the fact that Merlot is the source of some great authentic wines, which have all the finesse, structure and longevity of Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon. Give even the most snobbish of wine snobs a glass of Petrus and they’ll take your arm off.
Merlot is also increasingly popular – at least among consumers – judging by the increase in the number of searches for Merlot in our database. Last month, Merlot’s share of total wine searches around the world increased 2% from the previous year, while consumers pushed that figure to 5% growth in the US market. For the context, this is a drop in the Cabernet market share of 13% in the world and of 7% in the United States.
This popularity is also due to the great value of Merlot. Even an average Merlot offers a more rewarding experience than an average Cabernet, and much more in terms of value. Yes, you can spend over $ 3,000 for a bottle of Petrus, but you can also get a perfectly nice Merlot for under $ 15.
At Wine-Searcher we have an algorithm that ranks our wines as the best value for money, but it can be confusing and not always match what people perceive as “value”. For this best-value series of stories, we work with a more direct point / dollar ratio for a simplified “bang for buck” scale than our standard algorithm. Simply dividing the aggregate critical score by the price gives a value factor and the higher the factor, the better the value – a sort of points per dollar scale. The higher the value factor, the more points per dollar. All wines have a minimum critical score of 91.
Usually when we manage our lists of superlatives we don’t take vintage into account, but since vintage variation affects the score so much, we focus on individual vintages of wines for our best value lists.
Merlots at the best value for money on Wine-Searcher:
There are a few things to notice in this list and the first is the spread of Merlot around the world. There are wines from Bordeaux (as you would expect), Italy (where Merlot flourished), South Africa and even South America. This is a testament to both the versatility of Merlot and its popularity with winegrowers.
The other variances to be aware of are the price and the scores. The global average price of the above wines ranges from just $ 10 (for Chateau Le Peyrat) to $ 48 and the aggregate critical ratings all fall between 92 and 95 (the Elena Walch wine). This is a testament to the consistency and quality of the Merlot, as well as its extraordinary good value for money.
It’s also worth noting that Chilean vineyard Tabali has made it to the top 10 again, meaning its wines have made six times so far in our lists of best value wines. It will be interesting to see how that plays out as the series nears the end.