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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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13 Items
  • Le Macchiole Messorio 2012
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • RP97
    • JS96
    • WS95
    • W&S94
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $189.99
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    225
    189 99
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  • Wines of Substance Super Substance Northridge Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, Washington
    • RP94
    3.7 5 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $38.99
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    45
    38 99
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  • Le Macchiole Messorio 2011
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • V96
    • JS95
    • WS94
    • RP94
    • W&S94
    • WE93
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $264.99
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    300
    264 99
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  • Rocca di Frassinello Baffonero Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • RP95
    • JS93
    • WS93
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $209.99
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    235
    209 99
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  • Hickinbotham The Revivalist Merlot 2014
    Merlot from McLaren Vale, Australia
    • JH95
    • TP93
    • RP92
    • WS92
    • JS91
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $89.99
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    89 99
    89 99
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  • Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana 2014
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • JS95
    • RP94
    • WS93
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $209.99
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    209 99
    209 99
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  • La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • RP94
    4.7 3 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $99.99
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    99 99
    99 99
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  • Pride Mountain Vintner Select Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
    • RP94
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $99.97
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    99 97
    99 97
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  • Wines of Substance Super Substance Stoneridge Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • RP94
    4.2 6 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $44.99
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    44 99
    44 99
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  • Ornellaia Masseto 2005
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • WS96
    • RP94
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $739.99
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    739 99
    739 99
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  • Keenan Mailbox Vineyard Spring Mountain Reserve Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
    • W&S94
    • RP93
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $79.99
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    79 99
    79 99
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  • Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Roberta's Reserve 2014
    Merlot from Yountville, Napa Valley, California
    • JS98
    • RP96
    3.5 1 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $375.97
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    375 97
    375 97
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  • Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana 2000
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • RP96
    • WS92
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $629.97
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    629 97
    629 97
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