Merlot is a red wine variety with strong historic ties to Bordeaux and the southwest of France. It is the predominant variety in most wines from Saint-Emilion and Pomerol, the area in which the variety originated. The variety is now widely planted in wine regions across the world and, in terms of the volumes of wine produced internationally, it is rivaled only by its Bordeaux companion, Cabernet Sauvignon.
In France, Merlot is the most widely planted red wine variety of all, and it is also extremely popular in northern Italy and the warmer areas of southern Switzerland.
Italy, there were 63,290 acres of the grape planted in 2000 with more than two-thirds
of Italian Merlot being used in Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) blends such
as the so-called Super Tuscans versus being used in classified Denominazione di
Origine Controllata (DOC) or Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita
(DOCG) wines. Merlot Grapes
large portion of Merlot is planted in the Friuli wine region where it is made
as a varietal or sometimes blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc.
In other parts of Italy, such as the Maremma coast in Tuscany, it is often
blended with Sangiovese to give the wine a similar softening effect as the
Bordeaux blends.Italian Merlots are often characterized by their light bodies
and herbal notes Merlot's low acidity serves as a balance for the higher
acidity in many Italian wine grapes with the grape often being used in blends
in the Veneto, Alto Adige and Umbria