This red grape variety comes from France. The name is probably derived from the French word for blackbird (merle), because these birds like to nibble the berries, which are very sweet when fully ripe. However, the name may also be an allusion to the black-blue colouring of the berries similar to the bird. There are over 60 synonyms, which testify to its worldwide distribution. The most important are Alicante Noir, Begney, Bigney, Bigney Rouge, Bini, Black Alicante, Blue Merlot, Bordò, Cabernet del Cleto, Crabutet, Crabutet Noir, Crabutet Noir Merlau, Hebigney, Higney, Médoc Noir, Merlau, Merlot Black, Merlot Blue, Merlot Crni, Merlot Nero, Merlot Noir, Merlott, Merlou, Picard, Pikard, Plant Médoc, Saint Macaire, Sémillon Rouge, Vidal and Vitraille.