The red grape variety comes from France. Synonyms are Magdeleine, Madeleina, Magdala and Raisin de la Madeleine. It was already mentioned in 1847 under the name Madeleine by the French ampelographer P. Raguenaud. The vine was considered to be already extinct when in 2004 an unknown vine was found in an abandoned vineyard in the western French community of Saint-Suliac on a hill called Mont Garrot near the monastery. Subsequently, four more vines were discovered in the Charente département, here called Madeleine. As viticulture in Brittany was abandoned over 200 years ago, these are very old vines. DNA analyses carried out in 2008 by Dr Jean-Michel Boursiquot and Dr Carole Meredith in Montpellier and the University of California (Davis) revealed an unknown Vitis vinifera.
Because of its early ripening, the variety was called Madeleine in the Charentes (the name commonly used in France for vines with this characteristic). In order to avoid confusion with the numerous vine varieties with similar names, the vine was given the name Magdeleine Noire des Charentes in 2008. Finally, in 2009, DNA analyses carried out by Dr Jean-Michel Boursiquot revealed that Merlot was the result of a cross between Magdeleine Noire des Charentes and Cabernet Franc. Magdeleine Noire des Charentes is also the mother variety of Cot (Malbec), as well as the rather unknown two varieties Mourtès and Guignard de Saintours. No stocks were recorded in 2010 (Kym Anderson).