Merlot is mid-ripening and early budding. The very fertile vines are most productive when short pruned. Merlot is best suited to clay-limestone soils and produces many suckers. These are generic growing characteristics of this varietal. Rootstock selection will impact the production, ripening and growth patterns of any varietal material.
Merlot is sweet and fresh. If the berries aren't fully ripe, the wine has a herbaceous and leafy taste. It is often blended with Cabernets to balance their tannicity with its fruity flavor.
The earliest known mention of Merlot was in 1783 in Libourne in Gironde, south-west France. Merlot is a cross of Magdeleine Noire des Charentes and Cabernet Franc.