Merlot is a descendant of Cabernet Franc
A genetic study conducted in 2010 found that Merlot is a descendant of Cabernet Franc. Thanks to its full-bodied charm, Merlot has become one of the most popular grape varieties worldwide. It is a member of the Carmenet family and its intensely coloured grapes grow in medium-sized clusters. The buds appear early and the fruit matures sooner than other Carmenets. Merlot wines are very supple with abundant aromas of black fruit, which explains why they have become so popular around the world. This variety expresses itself most eloquently when planted in clay-limestone soil (such as in Cahors and Gaillac).
Source: Vin du Sud-Ouest de la France