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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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51 Items
  • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2017  Front Label
    Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2017
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW93
    • JS92
    • W&S90
    • WE90
    • CG90
    4.5 136 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $52.99
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    52 99
    52 99
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  • Oberon Merlot 2018  Front Label
    Oberon Merlot 2018
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      4.3 41 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $21.99
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      23
      21 99
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    • Textbook Merlot 2018 Front Label
      Textbook Merlot 2018
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      • JS91
      • WE90
      4.0 30 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $25.99
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      27
      25 99
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    • Markham Merlot 2017  Front Label
      Markham Merlot 2017
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        4.1 129 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $21.99
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        25
        21 99
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      • Hourglass Blueline Vineyard Merlot 2018  Front Label
        Hourglass Blueline Vineyard Merlot 2018
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • JD95
        • RP93
        • V93
        • WS92
        • JS92
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $79.99
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        79 99
        79 99
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      • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 2017  Front Label
        Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 2017
        Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
        • WS96
        • WW93
        • CG93
        • W&S92
        4.5 17 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $114.99
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        114 99
        114 99
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      • Silverado Mt. George Merlot 2017  Front Label
        Silverado Mt. George Merlot 2017
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • TP94
        • JS92
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $37.99
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        37 99
        37 99
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      • Century Cellars Merlot 2015 Front Label
        Century Cellars Merlot 2015
        Merlot from California
          3.6 169 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $8.99
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          8 99
          8 99
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        • GEN5 Merlot 2017  Front Label
          GEN5 Merlot 2017
          Merlot from Clarksburg, Yolo County, California
            4.1 18 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $12.99
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            12 99
            12 99
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          • Whitehall Lane Merlot 2017  Front Label
            Whitehall Lane Merlot 2017
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • WS93
            4.6 5 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $33.99
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            33 99
            33 99
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          • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2018  Front Label
            Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2018
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              4.8 5 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $29.99
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              29 99
              29 99
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            • Decoy Merlot 2018  Front Label
              Decoy Merlot 2018
              Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                4.1 184 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $19.99
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                19 99
                19 99
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              • Cakebread Merlot 2017  Front Label
                Cakebread Merlot 2017
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • V90
                5.0 12 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $66.99
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                66 99
                66 99
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              • Nickel & Nickel Bear Flat Merlot 2017  Front Label
                Nickel & Nickel Bear Flat Merlot 2017
                Merlot from Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California
                  4.5 6 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $64.99
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                  64 99
                  64 99
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                • Parcel 41 Merlot 2018  Front Label
                  Parcel 41 Merlot 2018
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $16.99
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                    20
                    16 99
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                  • Emmolo Merlot 2018  Front Label
                    Emmolo Merlot 2018
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    • WW92
                    4.6 31 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $54.99
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                    60
                    54 99
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                  • Nickel & Nickel Suscol Ranch Merlot 2016  Front Label
                    Nickel & Nickel Suscol Ranch Merlot 2016
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                      4.3 7 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $64.99
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                      64 99
                      64 99
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                    • Ramsay Merlot 2018  Front Label
                      Ramsay Merlot 2018
                      Merlot from North Coast, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $17.99
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                        17 99
                        17 99
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                      • Napa Cellars Merlot 2018  Front Label
                        Napa Cellars Merlot 2018
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                          4.4 10 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $23.99
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                          23 99
                          23 99
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                        • Schug Merlot 2015 Front Label
                          Schug Merlot 2015
                          Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
                            4.7 18 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $33.99
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                            33 99
                            33 99
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                          • Monticello Estate Merlot 2014 Front Label
                            Monticello Estate Merlot 2014
                            Merlot from Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $32.99
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                              32 99
                              32 99
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                            • Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Merlot 2018  Front Label
                              Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Merlot 2018
                              Merlot from Santa Margarita Ranch, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $19.99
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                                19 99
                                19 99
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                              • The Prisoner Wine Company Thorn Merlot 2017  Front Label
                                The Prisoner Wine Company Thorn Merlot 2017
                                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                • WS92
                                • WW91
                                4.5 12 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $39.99
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                                45
                                39 99
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                              • Barnett Vineyards Spring Mountain Merlot 2017  Front Label
                                Barnett Vineyards Spring Mountain Merlot 2017
                                Merlot from Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
                                • WW92
                                • JD91
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $73.99
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                                73 99
                                73 99
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                              • Bonterra Organically Grown Merlot 2018  Front Label
                                Bonterra Organically Grown Merlot 2018
                                Merlot from California
                                • WE91
                                2.9 5 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                                14 99
                                14 99
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