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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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  • Silverado Mt. George Merlot 2016  Front Label
    Silverado Mt. George Merlot 2016
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • TP94
    • W&S92
    • WE92
    • WW91
    4.2 25 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $39.99
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    39 99
    39 99
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  • Oberon Merlot 2017 Front Label
    Oberon Merlot 2017
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW89
    4.1 116 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $21.99
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    23
    21 99
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  • Matanzas Creek Alexander Valley Merlot 2015  Front Label
    Matanzas Creek Alexander Valley Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • WW90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $28.99
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    28 99
    28 99
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  • Century Cellars Merlot 2015 Front Label
    Century Cellars Merlot 2015
    Merlot from California
      3.7 135 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $8.99
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      8 99
      8 99
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    • Markham Merlot 2017  Front Label
      Markham Merlot 2017
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        4.2 26 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $21.99
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        25
        21 99
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      • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2017  Front Label
        Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2017
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WW93
        • JS92
        • W&S90
        • WE90
        • CG90
        4.6 67 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $49.99
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        56
        49 99
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      • Decoy Merlot 2018  Front Label
        Decoy Merlot 2018
        Merlot from Sonoma County, California
          4.2 110 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $19.99
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          19 99
          19 99
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        • Nickel & Nickel Suscol Ranch Merlot 2016  Front Label
          Nickel & Nickel Suscol Ranch Merlot 2016
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $64.99
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            64 99
            64 99
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          • Gnarly Head Merlot 2017  Front Label
            Gnarly Head Merlot 2017
            Merlot from California
              4.4 15 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $11.99
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              11 99
              11 99
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            • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2016  Front Label
              Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2016
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              • JS92
              • WW91
              • WE91
              • W&S90
              • WS90
              • CG90
              4.1 6 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $28.99
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              28 99
              28 99
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            • Parcel 41 Merlot 2017  Front Label
              Parcel 41 Merlot 2017
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                4.5 14 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $19.99
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                19 99
                19 99
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              • Peju Province Merlot 2016 Front Label
                Peju Province Merlot 2016
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $51.99
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                  51 99
                  51 99
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                • Mt. Brave Merlot 2016  Front Label
                  Mt. Brave Merlot 2016
                  Merlot from Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley, California
                  • WS94
                  • WE94
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $94.99
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                  94 99
                  94 99
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                • Menage a Trois Merlot 2018  Front Label
                  Menage a Trois Merlot 2018
                  Merlot from California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $11.99
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                    11 99
                    11 99
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                  • Cakebread Merlot 2017  Front Label
                    Cakebread Merlot 2017
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    • V90
                    5.0 11 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $66.99
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                    66 99
                    66 99
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                  • Rombauer Merlot 2017  Front Label
                    Rombauer Merlot 2017
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    • JS92
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $47.99
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                    47 99
                    47 99
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                  • La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot 2016  Front Label
                    La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot 2016
                    Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
                    • JD96
                    • WS95
                    • WE95
                    • RP94
                    • JS94
                    4.7 11 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $89.99
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                    89 99
                    89 99
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                  • Kenwood Merlot 2018 Front Label
                    Kenwood Merlot 2018
                    Merlot from North Coast, California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $12.99
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                      12 99
                      12 99
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                    • Merryvale Merlot 2016  Front Label
                      Merryvale Merlot 2016
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        4.9 6 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $48.99
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                        48 99
                        48 99
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                      • Robert Mondavi Private Selection Rum Barrel Aged Merlot 2018  Front Label
                        Robert Mondavi Private Selection Rum Barrel Aged Merlot 2018
                        Merlot from Monterey, Central Coast, California
                          4.2 13 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $13.99
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                          13 99
                          13 99
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                        • Napa Cellars Merlot 2017  Front Label
                          Napa Cellars Merlot 2017
                          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                          • WE91
                          • JS91
                          3.9 20 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $26.99
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                          26 99
                          26 99
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                        • St. Francis Merlot 2017  Front Label
                          St. Francis Merlot 2017
                          Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                            4.8 37 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $21.99
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                            21 99
                            21 99
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                          • Wild Horse Merlot 2016 Front Label
                            Wild Horse Merlot 2016
                            Merlot from Central Coast, California
                              4.3 5 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                              18 99
                              18 99
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                            • Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Merlot 2016 Front Label
                              Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Merlot 2016
                              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                4.0 22 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $27.99
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                                27 99
                                27 99
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                              • Schug Merlot 2015 Front Label
                                Schug Merlot 2015
                                Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
                                  4.7 17 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $33.99
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                                  33 99
                                  33 99
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