or Merlot Noir

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Merlot or Merlot Noir, black grape variety originally associated with the great wines of St-Émilion and Pomerol but it has become so popular worldwide that by 2010 it was the second most-planted variety overall, not far behind cabernet sauvignon. Its late 20th-century increase in popularity may be most readily associated with a short-lived fashion for it in the United States, but in reality total American Merlot plantings lag behind those of Cabernet Sauvignon by quite a margin and it is in Bordeaux, and in France overall, that earlier-ripening Merlot is so decisively the most planted red wine grape with a total that had reached 114,306 ha/282,336 acres by 2012 (when Cabernet Sauvignon’s total had fallen to 51,769 ha/127,923 acres).