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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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    Emmolo Merlot 2016
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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      Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2014
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      • WS92
      4.5 61 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $48.99
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      54
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      Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2015
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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        Substance Super Substance Northridge Merlot 2014
        Merlot from Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, Washington
        • RP94
        3.7 11 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $38.99
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        45
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        The Prisoner Wine Company Thorn Merlot 2014
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • W&S90
        4.3 20 Ratings
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        Chateau Mayne Vieil Cuvee Alienor 2014
        Merlot from Fronsac, Bordeaux, France
        • WE92
        • WW92
        3.5 105 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $17.99
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        24
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        Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 2014
        Merlot from Sonoma County, California
        • WW90
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        Currently Unavailable $23.99
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        28
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        Trefethen Merlot 2015
        Merlot from Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California
        • D95
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        • TP91
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $32.99
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        Robert Mondavi Napa Merlot 2014
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • TP93
        • JS92
        • WE90
        4.0 14 Ratings
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        Frog's Leap Merlot 2015
        Merlot from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
        • W&S93
        • WW92
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        Rutherford Hill Merlot 2014
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          4.3 5 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $21.99
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          Whitehall Lane Merlot 2014
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          • WW91
          4.5 13 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $29.99
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          32
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          Cakebread Merlot 2014
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            4.2 6 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $67.99
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            Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Merlot 2013
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • WW92
            • JS90
            4.3 17 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $59.99
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            65
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            Stags' Leap Winery Merlot 2015
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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              Decoy Merlot 2015
              Merlot from Sonoma County, California
              • WW91
              3.7 24 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $19.99
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              25
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              Columbia Crest H3 Merlot 2015
              Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
              • JS90
              4.6 9 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $14.99
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              15
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              Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Merlot 2016
              Merlot from Santa Margarita Ranch, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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              Currently Unavailable $17.99
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              Century Cellars Merlot 2014
              Merlot from California
                4.3 5 Ratings
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                Ca'Momi Merlot 2015
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • WW89
                3.8 12 Ratings
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                Robert Hall Merlot 2015
                Merlot from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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                  Markham Merlot 2015
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    4.5 5 Ratings
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                    Beringer Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot 2012
                    Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
                    • WS92
                    • RP90
                    4.6 7 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $59.99
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                    Simi Merlot 2013
                    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                      4.0 7 Ratings
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                      Santa Ema Reserve Merlot 2015
                      Merlot from Maipo Valley, Chile
                      • JS91
                      4.1 11 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $13.99
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