International Merlot Day 2022: we delve into the world of French merlot

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Today, we celebrate International Merlot Day 2022 and delve into the world of French merlot. This famous red wine grape is celebrated annually on 7 November.

International Merlot Day 2022

France is the home of Merlot and to this day still has the majority of the world’s plantings of Merlot. It’s estimated to grow a significant 2/3 of the world’s merlot grapes!


In the family…

There’s a grape called Merlot Blanc but unlike Grenache Blanc and Gris, it is not a mutation of Merlot Noir, but rather, a child of it, resulting from a cross of Merlot Noir with a grape called Folle Blanche, which was prominent in France back before the phylloxera outbreak destroyed it.


And while on the topic of grapes you might not have heard of, it was the researchers at the University of California who discovered through DNA research that Merlot itself comes from a grape, which no longer exists and which they named Magdeleine Noire des Charentes.


That mouthful of a grape name also cloned with other grapes to create Malbec, Guignard de Saintours and Mourtès. So that makes those three grapes Merlot’s half-siblings!


Thirsty to know more about Merlot? Check out last year’s article where we shared 17 things you didn’t know about Merlot. But don’t miss our International Merlot Day 2022 recommendation below.



As always, we reached out to French wine importers in Australia to hear their French Merlot recommendations.


Clos Cachet

Ashleigh Huggins from Clos Cachet recommends Mondot – Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2018 for International Merlot Day.

International Merlot Day 2022Why?

Troplong Mondot is one of the largest vineyards in Saint-Emilion, with vines first established in 1700 with a chateau built in 1745. As a fabulous second wine of the chateau it has the power and finesse of a top Bordeaux blend, with an acute focus on the Merlot grape to bring out the terroir-infused energy with notes of red cherries.


How does French Merlot differ from Australian Merlot?

Bearing many similarities between the two countries, Merlot in Australia is an easy to drink wine that is more tame than most other reds of the country. In France, its primary use is in the bold Bordeaux blends to bring earthy tones, with the ability to stand alone as a strong single varietal wine. Slightly more tannic in France, there are slightly more complex creations of Merlot simply due to the centuries of vine growth and winemaking that has occurred unlike the newer 50 years of plantings in Australia.


What would you pair this Merlot with?

Grilled chops, steak in red wine sauce, roast beef or lamb, and a favourite of crispy duck pancakes.

Happy International Merlot Day 2022! Show us what you’re drinking by tagging @matildamarseillaise on Facebook and instagram! 



Enter your email to subscribe to new article notifications about all things French and francophone in Australia

Happy Carignan Day 2022!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Today we celebrate Carignan Day 2022. Although it may seem lesser-known, it goes by many different names and was once in the not-so-distant past France’s most widely grown grape! This year to celebrate this great grape, we’re bringing you fresh and must-try recommendations from a selection of excellent French wine importers in Australia!

Carignan Day 2022

Carignan is celebrated on the last Thursday of October each year. Carignan grapes are a gorgeous blue/black and produce high tannin, highly acidic wines. Flavours found in Carignan wines include pepper, cherry, blackberry, raspberry, banana, almond, prune and violet.




Clos Cachet

Ashleigh Huggins recommends Domaine Gavoty – Storia Carignan 2019 for International Carignan Day 2022.



Domaine Gavoty creates rich, earthy Carignan from old vines in the heart of Provence. With organically grown vineyards (rare for the disease-susceptible grape), the team ensure to plough and manage yields strictly to increase concentration of the wine’s nose that opens on black fruits and spices. Fine and supple tannins. Aromas of black fruits and liquorice; melted structure: a gourmet and complex wine; a “real pretty wine”!


How does French Carignan differ from Australian Carignan?

There is little Carignan outside of Southern France, with Provence and Languedoc having the best climate for such a tough grape varietal. With extremely high yields and tannic qualities the French Carignan is something truly special to behold if the winemaker wrangles the top qualities into a single varietal wine. In Australia it is more found in blends with Shiraz and Grenache.


Why is Carignan not as well known in Australia?

There are still plantings of Carignan in Australia but often found within blends rather than single varietal wines. Being tough to cultivate and shape into an enjoyable beverage, there was a large push to remove the grapes from across the world. In France it came about in the 1980s, and followed suit across Australia. While able to render enjoyable wines in the Languedoc region of France, Australians do not favour high tannic wines and so remains a more ambiguous grape used in blends.


What would you pair this Carignan with?

Roast beef cheeks, Grilled chicken, Filet Mignon, Artichoke, Saffron Risotto. 


Pierre Stock Wine Selections

Carignan Day 2022Pierre Stock recommends the 2019 Domaine Le Roc Des Anges Isabal Cotes Catalanes 100% Carignan for International Carignan Day 2022.



This Carignan is pure and unique planted in pink Schiste. The layers of aromas in this wine are super complex and velvety, something that will age for decades.


How does Australian Carignan differ from French Carignan?

I do not know any Australian Carignan.


Why is carignan not as well known in Australia?

Carignan needs a lot of sun and and very hard rock with irrigated soils.


What would you pair this Carignan with?

Persian, Middle Eastern food.

Want to find out more about Carignan?

If you want to find out if you’ve experienced the glory of Carignan without knowing it, see our Carignan day article from 2020 for some in depth info on the history and versatility of this varietal.


Or if you want some quick Carignan facts to whip out when drinking with your mates, or simply love some quick wine trivia facts to break the ice, see our Carignan day article from 2021.


Make sure to check out the recommendations above, share the Carignan love in the comments below and let us know what your favourite Carignan wine is. Or tag us in your photos on social media @matildamarseillaise . We’d love to see what Carignan you’re drinking.


Happy Carignan Day 2022!

Like French wine?

For more about French wine, you may like the following articles:

Cabernet Franc Day 2021: facts and recommendations

Cabernet Sauvignon Day 2021: 15 things you didn’t know about Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy International Grenache Day 2022

International Pinot Noir Day 2022: discover 15 facts and which wines to drink

Pinot Grigio Day 2022: 13 Facts about Pinot Gris

Carménère Day: 15 facts about a French varietal you’re more likely to find in Chile than in France



Enter your email to subscribe to new article notifications about all things French and francophone in Australia