Merlot which in French means The Little Blackbird is a red wine grape variety with strong historic connections to Bordeaux and the southwest of France. It is the main variety in most wines from Saint-Émilion and Pomerol, the area in which the grape originates. Merlot is now widely grown in wine regions across the world and, in terms of the volumes of wine produced internationally, it can be compared only by its Bordeaux friend, Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot is an early maturing variety, which ripens fully even in cooler climates and it is known for the soft, velvety tannins. The flavour characteristics reminding of plum and black cherry are among the most common fruit-based descriptors used for the grape as well as the profile of the wines known to be smooth, rounded and "easy drinking". Great examples of a pure expression of Merlot wine are Château Petrus from Pomerol and Masseto from Tuscany.