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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 Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Vineyard Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WS90
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  • Chateau Mayne Vieil Cuvee Alienor 2014
    Merlot from Fronsac, Bordeaux, France
    • WE92
    • WW92
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  • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WS92
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  • Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Roberta's Reserve 2013
    Merlot from Yountville, Napa Valley, California
    • RP100
    • JS100
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  • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
    • WW98
    • CG93
    • WS92
    • WE92
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  • Swanson Napa Valley Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • TP92
    Currently Unavailable $24.99
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  • Masseto 2013
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • JS98
    • RP97
    • WS96
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    700
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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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    45
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  • Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana 2013
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • JS99
    • RP98
    • WS95
    • WE90
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    400
    219 99
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  • Shafer Napa Valley Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW92
    • RP92
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  • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW92
    • W&S90
    • WS90
    Currently Unavailable $26.99
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    26 99
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  • Decoy Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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    • Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 2013
      Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
      • WS92
      • WE90
      Currently Unavailable $199.97
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      199 97
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    • Waterbrook Collector's Series Merlot 2013
      Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
        Currently Unavailable $12.98
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        18
        12 98
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      • Leonetti Merlot 2015
        Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
        • WS93
        • RP93
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      • Santa Ema Reserve Merlot 2013
        Merlot from Maipo Valley, Chile
        • WS90
        Currently Unavailable $11.99
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        15
        11 99
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      • Emmolo Merlot 2015
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WW91
        Currently Unavailable $58.99
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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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      • Angeline Reserve Merlot 2015
        Merlot from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
        • WW88
        Currently Unavailable $12.99
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      • Hall Napa Valley Merlot 2014
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WS92
        Currently Unavailable $34.99
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        34 99
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      • Dry Creek Vineyard Merlot 2014
        Merlot from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
        • TP93
        Currently Unavailable $21.99
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        21 99
        21 99
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      • Masseto 2014
        Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
        • JS97
        • WS94
        Currently Unavailable $619.99
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        700
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      • Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Merlot 2013
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          Currently Unavailable $28.99
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          34
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        • Emmolo Merlot 2014
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            Currently Unavailable $53.99
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            60
            53 99
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          • Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Merlot 2013
            Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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              23 99
              23 99
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