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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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  • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2018  Front Label
    Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2018
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      4.6 7 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $29.99
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      29 99
      29 99
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    • Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot 2018  Front Label
      Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot 2018
      Merlot from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $18.99
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        18 99
        18 99
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      • Emmolo Merlot 2018  Front Label
        Emmolo Merlot 2018
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WW92
        4.6 37 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $54.99
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        60
        54 99
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      • Markham Merlot 2018  Front Label
        Markham Merlot 2018
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $26.99
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          26 99
          26 99
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        • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2018  Front Label
          Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2018
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $55.99
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            55 99
            55 99
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          • La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot 2017  Front Label
            La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot 2017
            Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
            • RP94
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $89.99
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            100
            89 99
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          • Rombauer Merlot 2018  Front Label
            Rombauer Merlot 2018
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • WW91
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $55.99
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            55 99
            55 99
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          • Josh Cellars Merlot 2019  Front Label
            Josh Cellars Merlot 2019
            Merlot from California
              4.1 5 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $13.99
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              13 99
              13 99
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            • Bogle Merlot 2018 Front Label
              Bogle Merlot 2018
              Merlot from California
              • WW89
              3.7 34 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $10.99
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              10 99
              10 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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            • Whitehall Lane Merlot 2017  Front Label
              Whitehall Lane Merlot 2017
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              • WS93
              4.1 14 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $33.99
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              33 99
              33 99
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            • Simi Merlot 2018  Front Label
              Simi Merlot 2018
              Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                4.5 8 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $21.99
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                21 99
                21 99
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              • Textbook Merlot 2018 Front Label
                Textbook Merlot 2018
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • JS91
                • WE90
                4.0 40 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $25.99
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                27
                25 99
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              • Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2018  Front Label
                Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2018
                Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
                • WE91
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $37.99
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                37 99
                37 99
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              • Cannonball Merlot 2018  Front Label
                Cannonball Merlot 2018
                Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                • WW89
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                14 99
                14 99
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              • Maddalena Merlot 2016  Front Label
                Maddalena Merlot 2016
                Merlot from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
                  4.5 13 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                  18 99
                  18 99
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                • Century Cellars Merlot 2015 Front Label
                  Century Cellars Merlot 2015
                  Merlot from California
                    3.6 173 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $8.99
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                    8 99
                    8 99
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                  • St. Francis Reserve Merlot 2017  Front Label
                    St. Francis Reserve Merlot 2017
                    Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
                      4.4 5 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $44.99
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                      44 99
                      44 99
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                    • Hall Napa Valley Merlot 2017  Front Label
                      Hall Napa Valley Merlot 2017
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $41.99
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                        41 99
                        41 99
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                      • Paradigm Merlot 2016  Front Label
                        Paradigm Merlot 2016
                        Merlot from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $67.99
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                          67 99
                          67 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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                          • Cakebread Merlot 2017  Front Label
                            Cakebread Merlot 2017
                            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                            • V90
                            4.9 13 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $66.99
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                            66 99
                            66 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
                            • WE93
                            • W&S92
                            4.6 21 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $119.99
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                            119 99
                            119 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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                            • Robert Mondavi Napa Merlot 2018  Front Label
                              Robert Mondavi Napa Merlot 2018
                              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $26.99
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                                26 99
                                26 99
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