The principle grape variety of Bordeaux now flourishes in winemaking regions all over the world. In Bordeaux, Merlot vines account for 65,000 hectares of the 111,000 hectares of red grape varieties planted in the region. Most of them are found on the right bank, particularly in Saint-Emilion and Pomerol but also Fronsac (thanks to its clay rich soils). On the left bank, in the Médoc, Cabernet Sauvignon is the leading variety, but Merlot still enjoys a strong presence (especially in Moulis and Listrac). Beyond Bordeaux, Merlot has found a home in Bergerac where it moderates the powerful and tannic Malbecs of Cahors. It’s also cultivated in appellations with an oceanic climate in the West such as Cabardès, Limoux and Malepère.
Within Europe, Merlot thrives in Switzerland, in Tessin in particular. It is also a popular variety in New World wines thanks its ability to adapt to many different soil types and climates. It is quick to ripen and on gravel rich soils which can pose a risk of over ripening. On the clay rich soils of Pomerol and Saint-Emilion it flourishes. There, it produces wine with notes of violet and peony, as well as red fruit and black fruit aromas. With time, Merlot wines develop more tertiary flavours with notes of mushroom, undergrowth, truffle and tobacco, even old leather.
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