What wine goes with bourbon?

Answered by Ricardo McCardle

When it comes to pairing wine with bourbon, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost, you want a wine that can stand up to the bold and powerful flavors of bourbon. Secondly, it’s important to find a wine that complements and enhances the flavors of the bourbon, rather than overpowering them. With these factors in mind, one wine that I would highly recommend is Merlot.

Merlot, especially from New World regions like California or Washington State, is a fantastic choice for pairing with bourbon. The boldness and richness of Merlot can match the intensity of bourbon, making for a harmonious combination.

One of the reasons Merlot pairs so well with bourbon is due to its oak aging. Just like bourbon, Merlot is often aged in oak barrels, which imparts flavors of vanilla and spice. This commonality in flavor profile creates a natural synergy between the two.

In terms of taste, Merlot typically exhibits notes of black cherry and plum, which can complement the sweet and fruity undertones found in some bourbons. Additionally, Merlot often has a velvety texture and a smooth finish, which can mimic the rich and smooth mouthfeel of a good bourbon.

Another reason why Merlot is a great choice is its ability to provide a hint of chocolate in its finish. This chocolatey note can be a lovely complement to the caramel and chocolate flavors often found in bourbon. It adds a touch of sweetness and complexity to the pairing, enhancing the overall experience.

As for specific recommendations, I would suggest exploring Merlots from reputable producers in California’s Napa Valley or Washington State’s Walla Walla Valley. These regions are known for producing high-quality, full-bodied Merlots that can hold their own alongside a glass of bourbon.

Ultimately, the best wine to pair with bourbon is a matter of personal preference. However, if you love bourbon and are looking to expand your palate, I highly recommend giving Merlot a try. Its boldness, oak aging, and flavor profile make it a natural companion for the rich and complex flavors of bourbon. So, pour yourself a glass of Merlot, sip it alongside your favorite bourbon, and enjoy the delightful marriage of flavors. Cheers!