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Merlot

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture...

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

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  • Chateau Mayne Vieil Cuvee Alienor 2014
    Merlot from Fronsac, Bordeaux, France
    • WE92
    • WW92
    3.5 87 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $17.99
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    24
    17 99
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  • Folie a Deux Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • WE90
    4.2 7 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $15.99
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    20
    15 99
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  • St. Francis Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • WE90
    4.5 5 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $17.99
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    22
    17 99
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  • Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE91
    • RP91
    4.4 8 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $34.99
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    41
    34 99
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  • J. Bookwalter Readers Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE90
    3.7 3 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $23.99
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    28
    23 99
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  • Parducci Small Lot Blend Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Mendocino, California
    • WE89
    5.0 1 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $12.99
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    15
    12 99
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  • Starmont Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Carneros, California
    • WE90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $23.99
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    27
    23 99
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  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Vineyard Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WS91
    • WE90
    4.2 6 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $31.99
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    35
    31 99
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  • Cotes de Ciel Ciel du Cheval Vineayrd Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Red Mountain, Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE92
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $36.99
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    39
    36 99
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  • Galil Mountain Merlot 2016
    Merlot from Israel
    • WE90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $15.99
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    15 99
    15 99
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  • Frog's Leap Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2013
    Merlot from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
    • WW92
    • WE90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $74.99
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    74 99
    74 99
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  • Grgich Hills Estate Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2012
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WE90
    3.0 1 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $21.99
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    21 99
    21 99
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  • Raymond Reserve Selection Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WE90
    4.1 8 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $27.99
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    27 99
    27 99
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  • Robert Mondavi Napa Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • TP93
    • JS92
    • WE90
    3.4 8 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $23.99
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    23 99
    23 99
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  • Januik Winery Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE91
    4.2 2 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $23.99
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    23 99
    23 99
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  • Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • WE93
    5.0 1 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $33.99
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    33 99
    33 99
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  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE89
    4.3 6 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $14.99
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    14 99
    14 99
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  • Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • WE90
    4.7 3 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $15.99
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    15 99
    15 99
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  • Seven Hills Winery Seven Hills Vineyard Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WS92
    • WE90
    4.5 3 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $29.99
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    29 99
    29 99
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  • Pedestal Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE91
    5.0 1 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $57.99
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    57 99
    57 99
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