Merlot

An early-ripening grape that generally produces soft, aromatic wines, merlot has become the most widely planted red-wine grape in France — where it is famous above all as a constituent of Bordeaux blends, particularly in the so-called Right Bank wines of Pomerol and Saint-Émilion (one of the most revered and expensive of all Bordeaux, Château Pétrus, from Pomerol, is almost 100 percent merlot). The grape has also become important in California, both as a single varietal and as a part of so-called Meritage, or Bordeaux-like, blends. Merlot is also common in southern France, Italy's Friuli region, Chile, the Italian-Swiss canton of Ticino (where it is sometimes made in a "white" style, reminiscent of white zinfandel), Australia and New Zealand, Eastern Europe, and more.