Merlot, when made in a medium-bodied style, pairs best with duck, meatloaf, pepperoni pizza, beef fajitas, pulled pork, osso bucco, kielbasa and lasagna. Plush with juicy flavours of plum and cherries, Merlot also features notes of bittersweet chocolate and smoke, creating a very seductive red wine.

Merlot can also be full-bodied, bold and powerful, however, those examples are going to be costly as they are often heavily oaked, or blended to create a powerful Bordeaux or Super-Tuscan. Wine pairing recommendations for this blog are focused more on the accessible and crowd-pleasing versions of Merlot that you will find on store shelves at around the $25 mark.

California, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina are just a few of the many countries outside of France and Italy that make excellent Merlot based red wines. Merlot is easily available, and frequently found on wine lists either by the bottle or glass.  Merlot is also one of the best wines to serve at Weddings and Banquets.  The silky soft flavours of cherry and plum make it an incredible crowd-pleaser.  Additional flavours of caramel, brown sugar, smoke and cocoa, only further seal the deal.  Meanwhile, the moderate tannin and acidity make Merlot a winner with a wide variety of dishes you’d serve at large events, such as, roast beef, lasagna, pork chops, turkey, and chicken cacciatore.

Finally, given the right circumstances, Merlot can be a fantastic pairing with certain desserts, such as, chocolate cheesecake, or cherries dipped in chocolate.

Best Food with Merlot

MerlotIndian Cuisine
MerlotPepperoni Pizza
MerlotPrime Rib Roast
MerlotBlue Cheese
MerlotRoasted Chicken
MerlotCheddar Cheese
MerlotRomano Cheese
MerlotCornish Game Hen
MerlotGrilled Duck
MerlotGrilled Dishes
MerlotRoasted Lamb
MerlotLamb Shanks
MerlotChicken Liver
MerlotMacaroni and Cheese
MerlotPolenta with Cheese and Mushrooms
MerlotGrilled Vegetable Salad
MerlotPhiladelphia Cheesesteak
MerlotFilet Mignon
MerlotSteak Flank
MerlotNY Strip Steak
MerlotGrilled Tuna
MerlotTurkey Roasted
MerlotVegetarian Dishes
MerlotAppenzeller Cheese
MerlotHare Casserole
MerlotHare Stew
MerlotIrish Beef Stew
MerlotRibeye Steak
MerlotPulled Pork
MerlotImpossible Burger
MerlotMixed Yakitori in Sauce
MerlotLamb with Tzatziki Sauce
MerlotMeat Lovers Pizza
MerlotElk Steak
MerlotPetite Tender
MerlotVeal Chops
MerlotBeef Short Ribs
MerlotBanh Hoi Thit Nuong - Beef Wrapped in Rice Noodles
MerlotBo Kho - Vietnamese Beef Stew
MerlotBo Luc Lac - Vietnamese Grilled Beef Cubes
MerlotRed Duck Curry
MerlotSeekh Kebab
MerlotLiver and Onions
MerlotChili Con Carne
MerlotBak Kut Teh
MerlotClaypot Chicken Rice
MerlotSe Bak
MerlotMussaman Curry
MerlotMa Kue Pad Nam Prik Pao
MerlotCold Beef
MerlotBeef Pot Roast
MerlotBeef Rib Roast
MerlotRoast Beef
MerlotAsian Style Stir Fry with Soy Sauce
MerlotBeef Stroganoff
MerlotBeef Tacos
MerlotBeef Tenderloin
MerlotRed Cabbage
MerlotCaraway Seeds
MerlotCamembert Cheese
MerlotEmmental Cheese
MerlotFeta Cheese
MerlotOsso Buco
MerlotGouda Cheese
MerlotMonterey Jack Cheese
MerlotPecorino Cheese
MerlotProvolone Cheese
MerlotRoncal Cheese
MerlotTeleme Cheese
MerlotCranberries and Cranberry Sauce
MerlotSpicy Curry Dishes
MerlotDuck Confit
MerlotPeking Duck
MerlotFruit Sauces
MerlotHerbed Dishes
MerlotHot Dogs
MerlotLamb Burgers
MerlotLamb Chops
MerlotLamb Curry Dishes
MerlotMexican Cuisine (beef based)
MerlotMorel Mushrooms
MerlotPorcini Mushrooms
MerlotShitake Mushrooms
MerlotWild Mushrooms
MerlotPasta Bolognese
MerlotPasta with Meatballs/Meat Sauce
MerlotPasta with Mushrooms
MerlotRed Bell Pepper
MerlotGreen Bell Pepper
MerlotGrilled Pork Chops
MerlotRoasted Pork Chops
MerlotGrilled Pork
MerlotSpinach Salad
MerlotHam and Cheese Sandwich (Gruyere)
MerlotRoast Beef Sandwich
MerlotSteak with Black Pepper
MerlotChicken Fried Steak
MerlotGrilled Steak
MerlotSteak Ground
MerlotSteak Well Done
MerlotSteak Medium Well
MerlotSteak Rib Eye
MerlotSteak Sirloin
MerlotSteak Tartare
MerlotVeal Roasted
MerlotVegetarian Bean Dishes
MerlotVegetarian Dishes Grilled
MerlotVeal Marsala
MerlotGarlic Bread
MerlotChicken Cacciatore
MerlotBarbecue Chicken Pizza
MerlotBeef Fajitas
MerlotPaella Valenciana
MerlotBraised Abalone
MerlotBeef Wellington
MerlotDuck à l'Orange
MerlotChocolate Cheesecake

Duck and Merlot Pairing

Duck is a rich meat that pairs perfectly with Merlot because the fat in the duck accentuates the fruit flavors in the wine, while at the same time, helps round out Merlot’s acidity.

For Duck served with no frills, such as a Roasted Duck breast served with risotto, select a cooler climate Merlot cooler climate such as France, Italy or Chile. Cooler climate Merlot are higher in tannin and features earthier flavours that complement the gamey duck flavours.

If the duck has a fruit reduction sauce, Merlot’s plush fruit flavours of black cherries, cassis, strawberry and plum and the rich and sweet sauce will pair perfectly. In this instance, I’d go with a warmer climate Merlot from California, that showcases deeper notes of chocolate, cooked cherries and prunes.

Meatloaf and Merlot Pairing

With flourishes of ground beef, vegetables, ketchup and egg mixed together to create a deliciously moist texture, meatloaf is an American classic that is slightly more refined when served with Merlot.

Merlot’s deep blackberry flavour pairs well with the sweetness in the ketchup that is often slathered on your Meatloaf while bitter flavours of dark chocolate, spice, herbs and black pepper making it one of the best wines to pair with Meatloaf.

Pepperoni Pizza and Merlot Pairing

For pairing Pepperoni Pizza and red wine, stick to a French or Italian Merlot which have more herbal (rosemary, anise) flavours that will go nice with the tomato sauce. Merlot from old-world regions tend to feature higher acidity, which helps ensure they won’t clash with the high-acidity of the tomato sauce.

I love how the bitter chocolate and smoky flavours of a velvety Merlot complements the crispy Pepperoni that graces a delicious Pepperoni Pizza. Meanwhile, the black cherry flavours of the Merlot swoop in and serve up plenty of refreshment against the saltiness of the cured meat and cheese..

If your Pepperoni Pizza is heavy on the Tomato Sauce, a Merlot won’t fly, as it’s not acidic enough. For heavily sauced Pizza’s stick to high-acidity red wines such as Chianti, Beaujolais, or Barbera. With that said, Merlot should be able to handle most Pepperoni Pizza’s delivered by a pizza franchise, or frozen in a grocery store.

Pulled Pork and Merlot Pairing

A medium-bodied Merlot for Chicken is delicious with Pulled Pork as the wine’s sweeter fruit flavors will go great with the BBQ sauce. The sweetness of Merlot is only perceived, due to the plum, cherry, cassis and strawberry flavours. Merlot is considered dry, velvety and rich, while having a long bitter chocolate finish.

And a little heat won’t bother a medium-bodied Merlot, but you’ll want to keep a full-bodied Merlot far away from Pulled Pork that is even a touch spicy. (the spice will make the tannin and higher alcohol in a full-bodied Merlot taste like burn)

Rabbit Paired with Merlot

A Fruit forward Merlot will cover up the gaminess of Rabbit, while serving up plenty of refreshment. Rabbit is a lean game meat and has very little fat, thus, a medium-bodied Merlot from California, which isn’t heavy in tannin, will go great with the leaner rabbit flavours.

If your rabbit meat is part of a rich stew or in a hearty sauce, that’s when I’d reach for a pricier Bordeaux, or a full-bodied California Merlot that requires a bit of aging.