We love this time of the year. Sweater weather. Fall foliage. The holidays. Pumpkin Spice Lattes. And, International Merlot Day!
Red wine lovers, this one is for you! You know we’re always looking for reasons to add our favorite red wine to anything, so we have been thoroughly enjoying testing these wines infused recipes in the IB kitchen. International Merlot Day is celebrated on November 7th of each year. To get you ready to celebrate this wine holiday, we are sharing some of our favorite red wine/Merlot recipes with you. We’re sure you will be toasting to these recipes like we are!
But, before we jump into cooking, let’s give you a brief Merlot overview. Did you know Merlot means the Little Blackbird in French and is the second most popular red grape in America? (The rich, robust Cabernet Sauvignon is number one.) Like the oh so popular Cabernet, Merlot was born in Bordeaux, France sometime between 1600s and 1700s. It originated on the Right Bank hills of Bordeaux while Cabernet originated on the Left Bank. It is a dark-blue colored grape variety. It quickly dominated the famous Bordeaux wine region alongside of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Merlot is a soft and supple grape and has a slightly sweeter profile than a Cabernet. It has lush fruit-driven plum, raspberry, blueberries, and black cherry flavors with herbal notes. Other common notes you may find hiding in a Merlot is chocolate, vanilla, cedar, cloves and tobacco.
Merlots contains less tannins and has a much smoother finish than a Cabernet. It is known as an easy drinking red wine and pairs well with foods. Due to its gentle tannins, Merlot is a great red wine to cook with. Since it is a flavorful wine, it is a popular ingredient used in sauces for chicken, duck, beef, veal and lamb. Trying adding Merlot to your tomato sauces, stews, muscle marinara, or dessert recipes.
Now, that we’ve given you a brief rundown of the light and fruity Merlot, let’s start cooking! We are sharing with you some red wine/Merlot recipes that are not as common as the typical red wine recipes for chicken, beef, veal, etc. to give you yummy new ideas on how to cook with this delicious red wine. Hope you enjoy. Bon Appétit!
Veg Annie’s Skinny Sangria recipe is one of our go-tos at the IB office because 1. It’s delicious, 2. It’s low-carb and sugar-free, and 3. Did we mention it’s delicious? Comprised of vodka, club soda, fresh fruits and (of course) your favorite red wine – this refreshing cocktail will be your new at-home staple. Find the full recipe here.
MERLOT INFUSED PASTA
Trust us when we say that these wine-hued noodles (Spaghetti All’Ubriaco) by The Cooking Photographer are just as enjoyable to eat as they are to look at. Boiling your spaghetti or linguine noodles in a combination of water and your leftover merlot is what gives this dish it’s beautiful berry color and unique flavor profile. 10/10 would recommend. Find the full recipe here.
RED WINE SPINACH
Who knew sautéing greens in Merlot would be so delicious? This delectable recipe by Angie’s Recipes calls for 6 ingredients you probably have in your kitchen already. The spinach makes for an excellent side dish for nearly any entrée and will likely become a reoccurring fixture in your kitchen. Find the recipe here.
RED WINE BROWNIES
Dessert – we love it so much we’re talking about it last. These deceptively indulgent red wine brownies by Looney for Food will be the ultimate conversation starter at whatever gathering you bring them to. These rich chocolaty brownies are sinfully sweet while still being sugar-free and only 98 calories a pop. We don’t know how they did it either. Find the full recipe here.
We hope you enjoy these red wine recipes and International Merlot Day! Cheers!