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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 2012
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
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    • RP95
    • WE94
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  • J. Bookwalter Foreshadow Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE90
    • RP90
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  • Chateau Mayne Vieil Cuvee Alienor 2014
    Merlot from Fronsac, Bordeaux, France
    • WE92
    • WW92
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  • Noble Vines 181 Lodi Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Lodi, California
    • WE90
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  • Folie a Deux Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • WE90
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  • Le Macchiole Messorio 2011
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • V96
    • JS95
    • WS94
    • RP94
    • WE93
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  • Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
    • WE91
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  • Le Macchiole Messorio 2013
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • RP98
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    • JS96
    • WE93
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  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Vineyard Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WS91
    • WE90
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  • Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE91
    • RP91
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  • Tamarack Cellars Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE91
    • WS91
    Currently Unavailable $23.99
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  • J. Bookwalter Readers Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE90
    Currently Unavailable $23.99
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  • Murphy-Goode California Merlot 2013
    Merlot from California
    • WE90
    Currently Unavailable $12.99
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    15
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  • Cotes de Ciel Ciel du Cheval Vineayrd Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Red Mountain, Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE92
    Currently Unavailable $34.99
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  • Pepper Bridge Winery Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
    • RP91
    • W&S91
    • WE90
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  • Starmont Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Carneros, California
    • WE90
    Currently Unavailable $24.99
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    27
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  • Rancho Sisquoc Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
    • WE91
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  • Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • WE93
    Currently Unavailable $35.99
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  • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2013
    Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
    • WW98
    • WS92
    • WE92
    Currently Unavailable $189.99
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    189 99
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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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  • Januik Winery Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE91
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  • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
    • WW98
    • CG93
    • WS92
    • WE92
    Currently Unavailable $94.99
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    94 99
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  • Ornellaia Masseto 2010
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • RP98
    • JS98
    • WE97
    • WS95
    Currently Unavailable $739.00
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    739
    739
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    Ships Mon, Nov 27
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  • Ornellaia Masseto 2007
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • WE100
    • V98
    • WS97
    • RP96
    • JS96
    Currently Unavailable $739.00
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    739
    739
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  • Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Merlot 2000
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WE92
    • WS92
    Currently Unavailable $61.97
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    61 97
    61 97
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