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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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11 Items
  • Castiglion del Bosco Dainero 2013
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • JS92
    Currently Unavailable $17.99
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    17 99
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  • Newton Unfiltered Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      Currently Unavailable $52.99
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      60
      52 99
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    • Parducci Small Lot Blend Merlot 2013
      Merlot from Mendocino, California
        Currently Unavailable $12.98
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        14
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      • Ridge Estate Merlot 2014
        Merlot from Santa Cruz Mountains, California
          Currently Unavailable $52.99
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        • Newton Unfiltered Merlot 2014
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            Currently Unavailable $53.99
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            53 99
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          • Nickel & Nickel Harris Vineyard Merlot 2014
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              Currently Unavailable $64.99
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            • Pennywise Merlot 2013
              Merlot from California
                Currently Unavailable $11.99
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              • Hunt & Harvest Merlot 2013
                Merlot from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
                  Currently Unavailable $28.99
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                • Hayes Valley Merlot 2014
                  Merlot from Central Coast, California
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                  • Hitching Post Hartley Ostini Merlot 2013
                    Merlot from Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
                      Currently Unavailable $21.99
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                    • Seven Hills Winery Seven Hills Vineyard Merlot 2013
                      Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
                      • WS92
                      • WE90
                      Currently Unavailable $28.99
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