Tout savoir sur les cépages du vin : le merlot noir

All about wine grape varieties: black merlot

Red grape variety with small black berries, the black merlot is from Bordeaux, where it produces exceptional red wines every year. Let's discover the black Merlot, from its origins to the characteristics of its wines.


The origins of the black merlot grape variety

Black Merlot is probably from the Bordeaux wine region (Vineyard of Libourne), and would be a hybrid grape, resulting from the cross between the Black Magdeleine of the Charentes and the Cabernet Franc.

This black grape of the Carmenets family takes its name from the merle, whose dark color of the plumage recalls the Merlot berries. It is also said that he bears this name because of these birds, particularly fond of the grapes of this grape.

If it is difficult to specify the date of the first Merlot cultures, it was only at the end of 18th century that is truly identified as a grape variety. We then find him in the Garden of Luxembourg during the French Revolution, and he then bears the name of Red Bigney.

Nicknamed Plant Médoc, Petite Merle, Sémillon Rouge, or Merlau, Merlot is one of the main grape varieties that make up the Grands Crus of Bordeaux.


Merlot in vines

Merlot is a Productive and fertile grape variety, which appreciates clay-limestone terroirs and humidity, but remains sensitive to spring and winter frosts, drought, powdery mildew, mildew, golden flavescence, cluster worms, or to gray rot.

We recognize the Merlot vineyard to their medium and compact bunches, as well as their very round, medium, and thick blue-black skin. There are sometimes pink or gray grapes, even if it remains less frequent. The flesh of the Merlot grape is juicy and moderately sweet.


Merlot in glass

Merlot is a Share with early harvest, which can produce good wines to drink young, but which is especially renowned for its wines Exceptional.

The Merlot then gives powerful and weak wines in tannins, and with a rich aromatic palette. Rather easy to drink, the Merlot red wine To a pretty bright red dress, and offers aromas of red fruits, blackberries, violets, and sometimes even prunes. The more it ages, the more the wine gives floral notes, aromas of undergrowth.

Merlot is mainly used as Assembly grape variety. He then does wonders with the Cabernet Franc and the Cabernet Sauvignon, who produced, together, the greatest wines in Bordeaux.

It can also, more rarely, be assembled with syrah.


Merlot vineyards in France and abroad

The Origins of Merlot seem to be 100 % French, and there remains one of the most present red grape varieties in Bordeaux, its favorite terroir. But he also managed to extend into other countries around the world.

Merlot in France

Merlot represents more than 60 % of Bordeaux vineyard grape varieties, and for some AOCs, it even covers up to 75 % of the wine surface. It is indeed near Bordeaux that this grape is best flourished, as in Saint-Émilion, in the Graves and in the Médoc. In Pomerol, the grape variety holds its reputation thanks to Petrus castle domain, where 95 % of the vines are in Merlot, and make it possible to produce one of the largest Bordeaux.

But Merlot is not limited to the Bordeaux region, and it is also found in the South West, like Cahors, Duras or Bergerac, but also in Languedoc-Roussillon.

Merlot worldwide

In Europe, the Merlot is fully flourished in Italy, and enters the composition of large appellations, such as theIGT Bolgheri, Tuscana, and Bolgheri Superiore.

In the United States, it is in California that we find the most Large Merlot vineyards. It is then used in assembly with Cabernet Sauvignon. We also find him, on a lower scale, in the state of Washington.

Finally, in South America, Merlot is used in monocepage or in assembly in Chile and Argentina, more precisely in the province of Mendoza.



Among the French grape varieties, the black merlot is a benchmark for the Great Crus of Bordeaux. Continue your oenotourism journey by discovering the other grape varieties presented by the Domaine de Bern.

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