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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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  • Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana 2013
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • JS99
    • RP98
    • WS95
    • WE90
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  • Petrolo Galatrona 2013
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • JS98
    • RP97
    • W&S94
    • WS92
    • V91
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  • Markham Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WS89
    • WW89
    Currently Unavailable $19.99
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  • Santa Ema Reserve Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Maipo Valley, Chile
    • WS90
    Currently Unavailable $11.99
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  • Milbrandt Estates Merlot 2011
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WS90
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  • Beringer Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
    • WS92
    • RP90
    Currently Unavailable $59.99
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    59 99
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  • Le Macchiole Messorio 2013
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • RP98
    • W&S97
    • WS96
    • JS96
    • WE93
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  • Woodward Canyon Columbia Valley Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE93
    • WS90
    • RP90
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    52
    42 99
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  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Vineyard Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WS91
    • WE90
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    35
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  • Le Macchiole Messorio 2011
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • V96
    • JS95
    • WS94
    • RP94
    • WE93
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    249 99
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  • Le Macchiole Messorio 2012
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • RP97
    • JS96
    • WS95
    • W&S94
    Currently Unavailable $189.99
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    225
    189 99
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  • Tamarack Cellars Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE91
    • WS91
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    28
    23 99
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  • The Prisoner Wine Company Thorn Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WS91
    Currently Unavailable $38.99
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  • Oberon Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WS90
    Currently Unavailable $19.99
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  • Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Roberta's Reserve 2012
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • RP98
    • JS98
    • WS93
    Currently Unavailable $299.99
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    345
    299 99
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  • Mercer Estates Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WS91
    Currently Unavailable $20.99
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    24
    20 99
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  • Masseto 2014
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • JS97
    • WS94
    Currently Unavailable $619.99
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    700
    619 99
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  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Vineyard Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WS90
    Currently Unavailable $15.99
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    18
    15 99
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  • Rombauer Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Carneros, California
    • WW91
    • WS90
    Currently Unavailable $31.99
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    35
    31 99
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  • Rocca di Frassinello Baffonero Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • RP95
    • JS93
    • WS93
    Currently Unavailable $219.99
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    235
    219 99
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  • St. Supery Rutherford Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
    • WS90
    Currently Unavailable $46.99
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    50
    46 99
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  • Pepper Bridge Winery Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WS90
    Currently Unavailable $47.99
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    47 99
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  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Canoe Ridge Estate Vineyard Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WS90
    Currently Unavailable $26.99
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    28
    26 99
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  • Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana 2014
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • JS95
    • RP94
    • WS93
    Currently Unavailable $209.00
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    209
    209
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  • Paloma Spring Mountain Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WE94
    • WS93
    Currently Unavailable $79.97
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    79 97
    79 97
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