A grape that is often used blended with the more tannic Cabernet Sauvignon to 'soften' and flesh out the middle palate of that variety. Merlot is also used for varietal wines. It is believed to be closely related to both Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Merlot is one of the world's most planted varieties and along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec it is one of the primary grapes used in wines made in Bordeaux where it is the most widely planted grapes. Two thirds of the world's merlot grapes are grown in France.