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Home » Authorised varieties » Merlot


A red wine variety originating in France, coming from the Bordeaux region, and Saint Emilion in particular. A faithful companion and complement to Cabernet.

Although this grape variety has been exported to a certain extent to countries such as the United States, Chile, Italy, Eastern Europe, it is not as widespread as other varieties due to cultivation difficulties. In Navarre, Merlot was introduced in the mid-eighties and now accounts for 13% of vineyards, with 2,400 hectares and is the 4th most important variety in the region. Although it is present throughout the D.O. territory, it is predominant in the Ribera Alta and Ribera Baja.

This grape variety lends the wine some intense, high quality fruity aromas, with good body and acidity, where the tannins are abundant yet smooth. It is used for young wines and for ageing and either as a monovarietal or as a blend. As a mixture with Tempranillo and Cabernet, it forms a modern, daring blend or "coupage" which the Navarre wines have come to be recognised for. Likewise, there are some magnificent examples of aged wines made with Merlot.

Agricultural data

Vegetative cycle

  • Early bud break (frost problem).
  • Flowering first ten days in June.
  • Veraison beginning of August.
  • Early or first period ripening.
  • Sensitive to over-ripening.
  • Short cycle.

Pests and diseases

  • Susceptible to mildew.
  • Slightly susceptible to oidium.


  • Warm climate with a certain degree of humidity.
  • Very sensitive to drought (very small berries) and to very hot summers.
  • Cool, fertile soil.
  • Thermal zone II - III.
  • Susceptible to wind breakage.


  • Medium sized, long, conical, winged and loose.
  • With an average weight of 160 gr. / cluster.
  • Small, round, deep black berry and medium thick skin.


  • Medium but irregular yields due to problems caused by its susceptibility to shatter or coulure.

Source: EVENA

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