Merlot is amongst the most extensively planted grape varieties in the world. It is the prominent variety of the revered and expensive right bank wines of Pomerol and St-Emilion and plays an important role in the traditional Bordeaux blend around the globe. It is grown widely in Italy, California and many new world countries including South Africa, New Zealand and Chile’s Aconcagua Valley. Merlot was established in Australia in the 1960s and is now one of the country’s most significant red grape varieties. It produces medium bodied wines with plum and red currant fruit and velvet tannins. It is often seen as an essential blending partner with cabernet sauvignon. The soft and generous nature of the variety provides fleshy mid palate weight to balance the blend.