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Merlot Noir
Synonyms Merlot - for more see the Synonyms section
Merlot Noir
Art Grape vine ( Vitis vinifera subsp. Vinifera )
Berry color black blue
origin France
known since 1784
VIVC no. 7657

Cross between
Magdeleine Noire des Charentes × Cabernet Franc

List of grape varieties

Merlot Noir or Merlot [ mɛrˈlo ] is a red wine variety . It comes from France from the area around Bordeaux . The Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties have grown tremendously in area over the past few decades. Merlot is number 2 behind Cabernet Sauvignon and ahead of Airén in the global area ranking, with a total area of ​​267,215 hectares.

Descent, origin

The variety, which comes from France, is a cross between the almost extinct grape variety " Magdeleine Noire des Charentes " and " Cabernet Franc ".

It was first mentioned in writing in Bordeaux in the 14th century: At that time, Merlot was still called "Crabatut noir" and was more of a secondary variety. A first complete description of the variety was given by Victor Rendu in his work Ampélographie française in 1857 . In 1784 the grape variety was already called Merlot and was already considered one of the most important varieties of the Bordelais. In the 19th century, the variety was still the dominant variety of the Médocs .

In the Veneto region, Italy, the Merlot is mentioned under the synonym "Bordò" from 1855, and the presence of the variety has been documented in Ticino, Switzerland, since the period between 1905 and 1910.

Researchers at the University of California at Davis believed that the grape variety is closely related to Cabernet Franc and is in turn a predecessor of " Carménères ". Since Carménère and Merlot grapevines are very similar in appearance, vines imported from France were mostly planted in "mixed stocks" in Chile. Because the grape variety almost completely disappeared in France due to the phylloxera plague , the name Carménère fell into oblivion at the beginning of the 20th century. From then on, the Chilean vines were thought to be a variant of Merlot because of their similarity. However, nobody could explain the clear taste difference between Merlot wines from Chile and those from other countries. The French ampelographer Jean-Michel Boursiquot was able to finally eliminate this mistake in 1994 through DNA analysis .

The name Merlot comes from the French word merle (German blackbird) and is intended to indicate the blackbird's preference for the red grape variety. The name can also be an allusion to the blue-black color of the berries.

There are also the mutations "Merlot Gris" and "Merlot Rose" (discovered around 1980 in Brazil). The " Merlot Blanc " grape variety is the result of a natural cross between the Merlot and the Folle Blanche grape variety . "Merlot Khorus" was created in 2002 from a cross of Merlot Noir and Kozma 20-3 at the University of Udine, Institute of Applied Genetics (IGA).

Merlot Noir was a cross partner in 51 new breeds (as of 2015): Artzebat, bruni 360, Bruni 452, Karminrot, Cosmo 97, Cosmo 108, Cosmo 109, Cosmo 110, Cosmo 111, Dimitra, Ederena, Evmolpiya, Ferradou, Fertilia, Hongzhilu, Incrocio Terzi 1, Mamaia, Margot, Meichum, Meinongs N, Meiyu, Mendeleum, Mendioberena, Merlan, Merlese, Merlot Blanc, Merlot Kanthus, Merlot Khorus, Meynieu 6-8, morela, Negru de Yaloven, Nigra, Plamennyi, prodest, professor Guzon , Rebo, Rigotti 81-6, Rigotti 95-5, Rigotti 125, Sennen Vesna, VRH 1-11-82, VHR! -28-82, VHR 1-34-82, XIV 11-57, Yama Merlot. It was also used to grow rootstocks such as Millardet & Grasset 11, 12, 21, 23 and 27.

Ampelographic features

  • The shoot tip is open. It is very hairy and reddish. The young leaves are covered with white flames and already five-lobed.
  • The medium-sized to large leaves are five-lobed and indented to a medium depth. The stem bay is open in a U-shape. The blade is unevenly serrated.
  • The cylindrical grape is medium-sized, sometimes shouldered or branched and loose berries. The round berries are small to medium-sized and black-blue in color. The berry skin is thin-skinned.

Maturity: It is considered to be medium to medium-late maturing. Ripening early in good locations.


Is advantageous in that it makes low demands on the ground, a small Oidium -Anfälligkeit, low Peronospora -Anfälligkeit of foliage and a low Botrytis has -Anfälligkeit. The berries have little tendency to burst.

The disadvantage is that the early budding results in a higher risk of late frost and that the variety is very sensitive to winter frost. The bills are very susceptible to downy mildew. Due to the sensitivity to flowering, the yields are irregular. Drought is not well tolerated by the vine, and the berries are often sought out by birds when they are ripe.


The vigorous variety often produces high yields (depending on the flowering weather). Strict yield regulation is essential to achieve high quality. Cool blooming weather causes the flowers to trickle and thus to lower yields.


The variety produces fruity, plump, full-bodied and full-bodied wines that are ready to be enjoyed after a few years of storage. Their current popularity is due to this fact. Even small amounts of Merlot make themselves felt in the cuvées . The wines are accessible earlier, but their long-term shelf life may be impaired. As it ages (medium to good), a Merlot can gain and become softer, but the fruit aromas often decrease and delicate herbal aromas come to the fore.

As a pure sort of wine, as it overseas or in the canton of Ticino expanded is the Merlot is rare. This is especially true for Italian cultivation. There are few exceptions to this rule, such as in France . There, the most expensive Bordeaux wines are produced as pure or almost pure top-class Merlots: see Château Pétrus .

Merlot is ideal for refining and harmonizing other varieties, whereby the Cabernet Sauvignon has emerged as the most suitable partner . Merlot benefits from the fact that it harmonises well with oak, so it is recommended for barrel storage (in barriques ). Therefore almost all Bordeaux wines have a more or less high proportion of Merlot in the cuvée .


Worldwide area development of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

Merlot plays an important role in almost all wine-growing regions of the world.

country Vineyards ha
Total area 2010 267215
Algeria 1510
Argentina 6282
Australia 10028
Brazil 766
Bulgaria 10573
Chile 10041
China 3560
Germany 469
France 114675
Greece 1970
Israel 647
Italy 28042
Japan 817
Canada 999
Croatia 780
Mexico 391
Moldova 8123
New Zealand 1369
Austria (2015) 694
Peru 2
Portugal 772
Romania 10988
Russia 1588
Slovenia 699
South Africa 6497
Spain 15540
Switzerland 1028
Turkey 355
Czech Republic 90
Ukraine 2820
United Kingdom 2
United States 22729
Uruguay 875
Cyprus 63

Merlot in France

To this day, Merlot is one of the six grape varieties that can be used for red wines in Bordeaux (the other varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon , Cabernet Franc , Carménère , Malbec and Petit Verdot ). The Bordeaux vintage quality is regularly shared by high or low use of Merlot : If the maturation period was long, the Cabernet-emphasized wines are often the better; However, if the maturation phase was limited due to the weather, wines with a high Merlot content are often at the fore. The differences are most serious when good Merlot was brought in and the later Cabernet harvest was then rained.

One talks about with reference to Merlot

  • Wines from the “Right Bank”: Saint-Émilion and Pomerol with a lot of Merlot are on the right bank of the Dordogne.
  • Wines from the “Left Bank”: the Médoc peninsula forms the left bank of the Garonne. There are mostly wines with a Cabernet emphasis.

Some of the best red wines ever are made from Merlot grapes. These include those from Saint-Émilion and above all from Pomerol , above all the legendary Pétrus and Le Pin . On the loamy and sandy soils that predominate in this part of Bordeaux, it gives ruby ​​red, fleshy wines of great distinction. However, they have less tannins, a lower acidity and a lower longevity than Cabernet Sauvignon wines, but a higher alcohol gradation. Their aroma resembles that of Cabernet wines in their youth, with sweet, malty tones coming to the fore instead of the bitter, aristocratic severity.

Merlot in Italy

The Merlot is part of the DOC wines Aprilia , Assisi , Bagnoli di Sopra , Bolgheri , Breganze , Capriano del Colle , Carso , Castelli Romani , Circeo , Colli Altotiberini , Colli Berici , Colli Bolognesi , Colli del Trasimeno , Colli dell'Etruria Centrale , Colli di Conegliano , Colli di Faenza , Colli di Scandiano e di Canossa , Colli Etruschi Viterbesi , Colli Orientali del Friuli , Colline Lucchesi , Collio Goriziano , Contea di Sclafani , Contessa Entellina , Controguerra , Delia Nivolelli , Franciacorta , Friuli-Annia , Friuli Aquileia , Friuli Grave , Friuli Isonzo , Friuli Latisana , Garda , Garda Colli Mantovani , Lago di Corbara , Lison Pramaggiore , Garda Colli Mantovani, Maremma Toscana , Menfi , Montello - Colli Asolani , Piave , Pomino , Rosso Orvietano , Sant'Antimo , Sciacca , South Tyrol , Franciacorta, Trentino , Valcalepio and Valdichiana toscana .

In Italy the Merlot is often blended with the Sangiovese grape variety . In the Isonzo wine region , the Strada del Merlot wine route runs through Merlot vineyards along the Isonzo River .

Merlot in Germany

In Germany there have been more and more ambitious, but mostly locally controversial attempts to produce high-quality Merlot. A number of committed winemakers in the Palatinate , Baden and Württemberg have already achieved good results. Climate change is helping here.

The vineyards in Germany were distributed among the individual growing areas as follows in 2015:

Growing area Area in ha
Ahr 1
to bathe 45
Francs 10
Hessian mountain road 2
Middle Rhine -
Moselle 8th
Near 18th
Palatinate 292
Rheingau 5
Rheinhessen 180
Saale-Unstrut 1
Saxony -
Stargarder Land -
Württemberg 57
Total Germany 2015 619


63 Synonyms: Alicante, Alicante Noir, Begney, Bidal, Bidalhe, Bigney, Bigney Rouge, Bini, Bini Ruzh, Bioney, Black Alicante, Bordeleza Belcha, Bordeleze Belcha, Cabernet del Cleto, Crabutet, Crabutet Noir, Crabutet Noir Merlau, Ferjansckova, Hebigney, Higney, Higney Rouge, Lambrusco Munari, Langon, Lecchumskij, Medoc Noir, Merlau, Merlau Rouge, Merlaud, Merlaut, Merlaut Noir, Merle, Merle Petite, Merleau, Merlo, Merlot, Merlot Black, Merlot Blauer, Merlot Crni, Merlot Nero, Merlott, Merlou, Odzalesi, Odzhaleshi, Odzhaleshi Legkhumskii, Petit Merle, Picard, Pikard, Plan Medre, Planet Medok, Plant Du Medoc, Plant Medoc, Saint Macaire, Seme de la Canau, Seme dou Flube, Semilhon Rouge, Semilhoum Rouge , Semilhoun Rouge, Semillon Rouge, Sud des Graves, Vidal, Vini Ticinesi, Vitrai, Vitraille.

Individual evidence

  1. a b K. Anderson, NR Aryal: Database of Regional, National and Global Winegrape Bearing Areas by Variety, 2000 and 2010, Wine Economics Research Center, University of Adelaide, December 2013 (first revision April 2014) (second revision May 2014) (third revision July 2014).
  2. ^ Parentage of Merlot and related winegrape cultivars of southwestern France: discovery of the missing link. (PDF; 44 kB) ( Memento of the original dated June 10, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , from JM. Boursiquot, T. Lacombe, V. Laucou, S. Julliard, FX. Perrin, N. Lanier, D. Legrand, and C. Meredith, in Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research 15: pp. 144-155. 2009 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. ^ A b c Oz Clarke Encyclopedia of Grapes , Harcourt Books 2001, ISBN 0-15-100714-4 , p. 129
  4. ^ Huglin Index # Consequences of a change in the Huglin Index
  5. 1. Cultivation statistics for the year 2015 Federal Statistical Office (2016): Agriculture and forestry, fishing. Agricultural land use - vineyards. Technical series 3 series 3.1.5.
  6. Merlot in the database Vitis International Variety Catalog of the Institute for Vine Breeding Geilweilerhof (English), accessed on February 25, 2020

Web links

Commons : Merlot  - collection of images, videos and audio files