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The red grape variety comes from France, The name is probably from the French word for blackbird (merle) because these birds like to snack on the very sweet berries when fully ripe. The name can also be an allusion to the black-blue color of the berries similar to the bird. There are over 60 Synonyms which attest to the worldwide spread. The most important are Alicante Noir, Bigney, Black Alicante, Blauer Merlot, Bordò, Crabutet, Crabutet Noir, Hebigney, Médoc Noir, Merlau, Merlot Black, Merlot Blau, Merlot Crni, Merlot Nero, Merlot Noir, Merlott, Merlou, Picard, Pikard, Plant Médoc, Sémillon Rouge, Vidal and Vitraille.

Merlot - grape and leaf

Despite apparently suggesting synonyms or morphological No similarities with the varieties Carmenère or Menoir be confused. Because Carmenère and Merlot vines are very similar on the outside, vines imported overseas were very often planted in a mixed set in the vineyard. For this reason you stopped in Chile the Carmenère variety incorrectly for a long time sport by Merlot.

In 1999 Dr. Ferdinand Regner (Austria) DNA analysis as a Merlot parent Cabernet Franc (Father) has been identified. But it was only ten years later in 2009 that Jean-Michel Boursiquot the second parent is the variety Magdeleine Noire des Charentes (Mother) determined. The sorts Abouriou. Cabernet Sauvignon. Carmenère and Cot (Malbec) have at least one parent in common with Merlot. The varieties Merlot Gris and Merlot Rosa discovered in Brazil at the beginning of the 1980s are colored mutations, The variety Merlot Blanc however, Merlot x is from a cross Folle Blanche emerged.

Merlot is due to its potential and resistance to real ones mildew a popular breed. It was a partner of the new varieties artaban. Artzebat. Carmine. Cosmo. Ederena. Erilon. fertilia. Incrocio Bruni 452. Incrocio Terzi 1. Laurot. Malverina. Mamaia. Mendeleum. Mendioberena. Merlese. Merlot cantus. Merlot Khorus. Negru de Yaloven. nigra. Plamennyi. Prodest. Rebo. Rigotti. Sennen and Voltis, She was also for Breeding base used. From a presumably natural cross between Cabernet Franc x Merlot is the variety Caberlot emerged.

The first mention under the name Crabutet Noir is said to date back to the 14th century. Under the name Merlau or Merlot it was first in the area in 1784 Libourne Documentarily mentioned and was one of the most important Bordeaux varieties at that time. In the Italian region Veneto the variety was mentioned in 1855 under the synonym Bordò. The first complete description was given by Victor Rendu (1809-1877) in 1857 in his work "Ampélographie Française".

The early to medium maturing vine is susceptible to Verrieseln, Wrong mildew and Botrytis, as well as sensitive to spring frost and drought, but very resistant to powdery mildew. It produces full-bodied red wines with gentle tannins and diverse fruit and herbal aromas of plum, ivy, caramel, Black cherry, raspberry and Cassis (blackcurrant). The variety is often used as an optimal supplement for Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc as a fruit-bringing, tannin-reducing factor.

It is the most common grape variety in France and especially in the regions Bordeaux and Languedoc-Roussillon widespread. In the fields of Graves. Saint-Emilion and Pomerol it is the main component of the large red wines and in Médoc Partner at Bordeaux blend, In the Pomerol, the famous red wines of the two wineries are made Château Petrus and Château Le Pin almost varietal, the best and most expensive red wines in the world counting. The total acreage in France is 115,746 hectares.

Merlot - vineyards in Stabio in the canton of Ticino (Switzerland)

In Italy it occupies 28,042 hectares, especially in the northern half. Other countries are Algeria (1,510 ha), Bulgaria (10,573 ha), Germany (469 ha), England (2 ha), Greece (1,248 ha), Croatia (780 ha), Moldova (8,123 ha), Montenegro. Austria (649 ha), Portugal (772 ha), Romania (10,988 ha), Russia (1,588 ha), Switzerland (1,028 ha), Slovenia (996 ha), Spain especially Aragon, Catalonia, Navarre and La Mancha (15,540 ha), Czech Republic (90 ha), Turkey (355 ha), Ukraine (2,820 ha), Hungary (1,907 ha) and Cyprus (63 ha).

There are stocks in overseas Argentina (6,282 ha), Australia (10,028 ha), Bolivia (30 ha), Brazil (766 ha), Chile (10,041 ha), China (3,560 ha), India. Israel. Japan (817 ha), Canada (999 ha), Mexico (391 ha), New Zealand (1,369 ha), Peru (2 ha), South Africa (6,497 ha) and Uruguay (875 ha), as well as in the United States California (18,924 ha), new York. Oregon. Texas. Virginia and Washington (3,334 ha). In 20 years, Merlot has almost doubled its stock from 154,752 hectares in 1990 to 267,169 hectares in 2010. So the variety is in the world Varieties ranking behind the Cabernet Sauvignon and before the Airén in 2nd place.

Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012
Images: Ursula Brühl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)

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