Not only is this the most widely planted variety; it is clearly the most successful across the entire region. At its best, it produces opulently flavoured and structured wines, with an almost creamy texture. These wines respond well to the generous use of high-quality French oak.
Either as a varietal in its own right, or blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot impresses, with good varietal character and mouthfeel.
Great faith has been placed in this variety, with substantial quantities of both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay used for sparkling wine, with good results in each case. Perhaps the region is too warm for the variety, but these are still early days. Some good Pinot Noir has been made but work remains to be done to see the variety fulfil its true potential in the region.