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California Merlot

Learn about California Merlot, common tasting notes, defining characteristics and more ...

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Today the fourth most widely planted red variety in the state, Merlot has much to offer. While it bears similarities to Cabernet Sauvignon (its half-sibling), it tends to be lower in both acidity and tannins, giving Merlot wines a mouthfeel that is often perceived as soft, round and plush. These qualities make it an ideal blending partner for Cabernet, the two complementing each other throughout.

Merlot arrived relatively late to the California wine scene. It wasn’t until the 1970’s when producers like Louis Martini, Sterling and Matanzas Creek—influenced by European Merlot blends—began crafting single varietal versions. These trend-setting bottles opened the eyes of others in the California wine scene and spurred increased plantings. From there, the variety’s lush drinkability led to a surge in popularity, then overplanting (some of it on unsuitable sites) and finally a backlash that was turbo-charged by the infamous 2004 film, Sideways. What most 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 with Cabernet Franc.

Fine examples of California Merlot—either as a single varietal wine or as part of a blend—can be found from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, the Central Coast and most regions around the state. Merlot wines offer a ripe, sensual mouthful of plummy fruit, suggestions of mint, herbs and vanilla, all carried along by an approachable structure and often, a great potential for improving with age.

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107 Items
  • Hourglass Blueline Vineyard Merlot 2019  Front Label
    Hourglass Blueline Vineyard Merlot 2019
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • RP95
    • JD94
    4.6 7 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $84.99
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  • Markham Merlot 2018  Front Label
    Markham Merlot 2018
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WS91
    4.2 94 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $21.99
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    25
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  • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2019  Front Label
    Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2019
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW92
    4.0 10 Ratings
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    Currently Unavailable $53.99
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    53 99
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  • Trentadue La Storia Merlot 2018  Front Label
    Trentadue La Storia Merlot 2018
    Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
      4.0 21 Ratings
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      Currently Unavailable $26.99
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      34
      26 99
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    • Wine Spots Napa Valley Merlot 2015  Front Label
      Wine Spots Napa Valley Merlot 2015
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
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        Currently Unavailable $33.99
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      • Stags' Leap Winery Merlot 2019  Front Label
        Stags' Leap Winery Merlot 2019
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          0.0 0 Ratings
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          Currently Unavailable $41.99
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        • Textbook Merlot 2019  Front Label
          Textbook Merlot 2019
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          • WS91
          4.0 20 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $26.99
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          26 99
          26 99
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        • Decoy Merlot 2019  Front Label
          Decoy Merlot 2019
          Merlot from Sonoma County, California
            4.2 66 Ratings
            Regular price
            Currently Unavailable $20.99
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            20 99
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          • Whitehall Lane Merlot 2018  Front Label
            Whitehall Lane Merlot 2018
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • JS90
            3.9 5 Ratings
            Regular price
            Currently Unavailable $33.99
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            33 99
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          • Silverado Mt. George Merlot 2018  Front Label
            Silverado Mt. George Merlot 2018
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • TP93
            • WW92
            4.0 10 Ratings
            Regular price
            Currently Unavailable $47.99
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            47 99
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          • Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2018  Front Label
            Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2018
            Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
            • WE91
            • JD90
            4.0 21 Ratings
            Regular price
            Currently Unavailable $35.99
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            35 99
            35 99
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          • Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Merlot 2019  Front Label
            Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Merlot 2019
            Merlot from Santa Margarita Ranch, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
            • TP93
            • WE91
            4.0 28 Ratings
            Regular price
            Currently Unavailable $21.99
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            21 99
            21 99
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          • Wente Sandstone Merlot 2020  Front Label
            Wente Sandstone Merlot 2020
            Merlot from Livermore Valley, Central Coast, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
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              Currently Unavailable $17.99
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              20
              17 99
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            • Emmolo Merlot 2019  Front Label
              Emmolo Merlot 2019
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                4.3 19 Ratings
                Regular price
                Currently Unavailable $58.99
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                58 99
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              • Grgich Hills Estate Merlot 2018  Front Label
                Grgich Hills Estate Merlot 2018
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • WS90
                0.0 0 Ratings
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                Currently Unavailable $42.99
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                42 99
                42 99
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              • Napa Cellars Merlot 2019  Front Label
                Napa Cellars Merlot 2019
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • JS92
                0.0 0 Ratings
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                Currently Unavailable $25.99
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                25 99
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              • Rutherford Hill Merlot 2019  Front Label
                Rutherford Hill Merlot 2019
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • WS91
                4.0 21 Ratings
                Regular price
                Currently Unavailable $29.99
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                29 99
                29 99
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              • Josh Cellars Merlot 2020  Front Label
                Josh Cellars Merlot 2020
                Merlot from California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
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                  Currently Unavailable $12.99
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                  17
                  12 99
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                • Charles Krug Napa Valley Merlot 2019  Front Label
                  Charles Krug Napa Valley Merlot 2019
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                  • JS93
                  • WW89
                  4.1 6 Ratings
                  Regular price
                  Currently Unavailable $27.99
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                  27 99
                  27 99
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                • Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Merlot 2018  Front Label
                  Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Merlot 2018
                  Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                    3.7 11 Ratings
                    Regular price
                    Currently Unavailable $17.99
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                    24
                    17 99
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                  • J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot 2019  Front Label
                    J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot 2019
                    Merlot from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
                    • TP92
                    3.7 11 Ratings
                    Regular price
                    Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                    14 99
                    14 99
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                  • Century Cellars Merlot 2017  Front Label
                    Century Cellars Merlot 2017
                    Merlot from California
                      3.1 8 Ratings
                      Regular price
                      Currently Unavailable $8.99
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                      8 99
                      8 99
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                    • St. Francis Merlot 2018  Front Label
                      St. Francis Merlot 2018
                      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                      • WW90
                      4.0 41 Ratings
                      Regular price
                      Currently Unavailable $17.99
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                      22
                      17 99
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                    • Hall Napa Valley Merlot 2018  Front Label
                      Hall Napa Valley Merlot 2018
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Regular price
                        Currently Unavailable $41.99
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                        41 99
                        41 99
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                      • Bonterra Organically Grown Merlot 2020  Front Label
                        Bonterra Organically Grown Merlot 2020
                        Merlot from California
                        • WW89
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Regular price
                        Currently Unavailable $12.99
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                        16
                        12 99
                        Save $3.01 (19%)
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