A grape variety that has it's history firmly planted in the soil of Bordeaux. The earliest official mention of the grape Merlot (Merlau) came from the notes of a Bordeaux official in 1784. The grape was named after the French word for blackbird. Possibly in relation to the grapes black colour or that the bird enjoyed eating the grapes!
In the past, Merlot was often used in blending due to its soft, fleshy flavour and early ripening which made it ideally suited to blending with its traditional cousin Cabernet Sauvignon a later-ripening and more tannic grape.
Traditionally, there are two styles of Merlot, the "international style" which the New World regions favor; inky, deep purple coloured, high alcohol with lush, plum and berry fruit flavours combined with medium tannin structure. Or the more traditional "Bordeaux style" with earlier harvesting, lighter fruit flavours of cherries/strawberries and vegetal notes. More recently though Merlot gained a massive following in the United States, and is grown in many parts of the world including Australia