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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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  • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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  • Chateau Mayne Vieil Cuvee Alienor 2014
    Merlot from Fronsac, Bordeaux, France
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  • Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW92
    • JS90
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  • Masseto 2014
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
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    • WS94
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  • Petrolo Galatrona 2013
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
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    • W&S94
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  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Vineyard Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
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    Currently Unavailable $14.98
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  • Cakebread Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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    • Decoy Merlot 2015
      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
      • WW91
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    • Shafer Napa Valley Merlot 2014
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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      • RP92
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    • Matanzas Creek Winemaker's Reserve Merlot (Sonoma Barrel Auction) 2013
      Merlot from Bennett Valley, Sonoma County, California
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      • Swanson Napa Valley Merlot 2013
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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      • Le Macchiole Messorio 2012
        Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
        • RP97
        • JS96
        • WS95
        • W&S94
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      • Ghost Pines Merlot 2014
        Merlot from North Coast, California
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      • Waterbrook Collector's Series Merlot 2013
        Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
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        • Ornellaia Masseto 2006
          Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
          • RP100
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          • V99
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        • Ornellaia Masseto 2005
          Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
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          • RP94
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        • The Prisoner Wine Company Thorn Merlot 2014
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          • W&S90
          Currently Unavailable $37.99
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          45
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        • Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Merlot 2013
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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          • Trefethen Merlot 2014
            Merlot from Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California
            • WW92
            • TP91
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          • Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 2013
            Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
            • WS92
            • WE90
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          • J. Bookwalter Foreshadow Merlot 2013
            Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
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            • RP90
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          • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2014
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • WS92
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          • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2014
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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            26 99
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          • Barnett Vineyards Spring Mountain Merlot 2014
            Merlot from Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
            • RP90
            Currently Unavailable $64.99
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            64 99
            64 99
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          • Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2012
            Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
            • WE91
            • RP91
            Currently Unavailable $34.99
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            34 99
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