Merlot grapes are identified by their loose bunches of large berries. The color has less of a blue/black hue than Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and with a thinner skin and fewer tannins. High sugar content and low malic acid content seem to be characteristic of Merlot. Vines thrive in cold soils, particularly clay and tend to push buds early which gives it some risk to cold frost and its thinner skin increases its susceptibility to Botrytis bunch rot.
Wines made from Merlot usually have ripe berry components within the bouquet and tend to be soft, fruity and smooth in texture. A rich red wine with round tannins.