Merlot is the product of a Cabernet crossing, and like Cabernet Sauvignon, is becoming increasingly favoured in the red wine scene in Austria. Merlot officially became an approved Quality wine variety in 1986.
probably Bordeaux, France
Natural crossing of Caberbet Franc and an unknown variety
806.03 ha; 1.8%
Merlot has been authorised as an Austrian Qualitätswein variety since 1986 and is grown in all wine-growing regions in Austria. The premium wines produced from this variety come from France – such as the right-bank Bordeaux appellations St. Émilion and Pomerol.
Merlot wines are more mellow than their Cabernet Sauvignon peers and contain less tannin and acidity. This variety is often used in cuvée blends or for monovarietal wines. It needs good soils, is easily damaged by late frosts and is prone to coulure when the weather is cool during the flowering phase. Yields are inconsistent and the volume of fruit needs restricting.
Area under vine in Austria
(as a proportion of the variety’s total area)
Characteristics of the wine
Advanced ripeness and a long élevage are prerequisites for wines to display generous fruitiness, sweet, mellow extract and rounded, harmonious tannins. Wines made from fully ripened grapes have a very good ageing potential. Underripe grapes, on the other hand, may produce grassy, green wines.
Source varietal specifications: Höhere Bundeslehranstalt und Bundesamt für Wein- und Obstbau (Federal College and Federal Office for Viticulture, Oenology and Fruit Growing) in Klosterneuburg, “Austria’s Qualitätswein grape varieties and their clones“ („Österreichische Qualitätsweinrebsorten und deren Klone“), 2nd, reviewed edition, September 2015
Source area under vine: Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism according to IACS (as at 31 May 2022)