Originally a Bordeaux grape. It is the colour: bluish black moiré that would have given it its name. In Medoc Merlot is the "petit oiseau noir", the small blackbird. It could come from the Libourne region where it is mentioned for the first time as "Merlau." It is formally identified as a variety in the seventeenth century. In 1789 it appeared in the collection of the Luxembourg Gardens. Phylloxera will cause its expansion in France. Currently about 100,000 hectares are planted in France, including 25,000 ha in Languedoc Roussillon.
Crebutet, Cruchinet, bégney or bignet, Vitraille, Plant Medoc, Bordeleza, belcha (Basque Country), bidailhe, semillon rouge, langon, medoc noir, merlau, merle petite, merlô, merlott, odzalesi, petit Merle, Saint-Macaire, sème de la Canau, sème Dou Flube.
Grape well adapted to clay and limestone soils giving regular production. It prefers deep soils which retain moisture. It's weeping shape requires a good trellising. In Languedoc, it prefers cool years with good rainfall. Early variety, it is among the first red harvested in the area. During wine making, it is very sensitive to oxidation and has good capacity for aging in vats or barrels.
Bordeaux, Bergerac, Buzet, Cahors, Languedoc Roussillon. Merlot is also an international variety. It is found in northern Italy (Friuli, Umbria), Switzerland, Romania, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, California and Australia.
Wine and aromas
Merlot gives a soft, fleshy, complex, easy to drink wine and does not require long ageing. Wine with a deep and intense color, powerful, smooth and silky, fruity: the whole range of red fruit (cherries, blackberries, strawberries ...). Aging, it develops aromas of leather, humus, undergrowth, animal notes, prune, licorice. Merlot is often blended with Cabernet-Sauvignon which completes it very well.