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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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24 Items
  • Hendry Merlot 2013 Front Label
    Hendry Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $37.99
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      37 99
      37 99
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    • Lava Cap Reserve Merlot 2013 Front Label
      Lava Cap Reserve Merlot 2013
      Merlot from El Dorado, Sierra Foothills, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $22.99
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        22 99
        22 99
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      • Matthiasson Red Hen Vineyard Merlot 2013 Front Label
        Matthiasson Red Hen Vineyard Merlot 2013
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WW94
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $99.99
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        99 99
        99 99
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      • Ramspeck Merlot 2013 Front Label
        Ramspeck Merlot 2013
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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          Currently Unavailable $22.99
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          22 99
          22 99
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        • Urban Legend Cellars Merlot 2013 Front Label
          Urban Legend Cellars Merlot 2013
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $37.99
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            37 99
            37 99
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          • Rocca Family Vineyards Grigsby Vineyard Merlot 2013 Front Label
            Rocca Family Vineyards Grigsby Vineyard Merlot 2013
            Merlot from Yountville, Napa Valley, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $59.99
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              59 99
              59 99
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            • Teira Merlot 2013 Front Label
              Teira Merlot 2013
              Merlot from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $16.98
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                19
                16 98
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              • Brander Merlot 2013 Front Label
                Brander Merlot 2013
                Merlot from Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $19.99
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                  19 99
                  19 99
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                • Wing Canyon Lolita Merlot 2013 Front Label
                  Wing Canyon Lolita Merlot 2013
                  Merlot from Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley, California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $35.99
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                    35 99
                    35 99
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                  • TATE Spring Street Merlot 2013 Front Label
                    TATE Spring Street Merlot 2013
                    Merlot from St. Helena, Napa Valley, California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $52.99
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                      52 99
                      52 99
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                    • Donati Family Vineyards Merlot 2013 Front Label
                      Donati Family Vineyards Merlot 2013
                      Merlot from Paicines, Central Coast, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $13.89
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                        19 99
                        13 89
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                      • Titus Merlot 2013  Front Label
                        Titus Merlot 2013
                        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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                        • Y. Rousseau Pepe Cavedale Vineyard Merlot 2013 Front Label
                          Y. Rousseau Pepe Cavedale Vineyard Merlot 2013
                          Merlot from Moon Mountain District, Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
                          • WE91
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $48.99
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                          48 99
                          48 99
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                        • Hook and Ladder Estate Merlot 2013 Front Label
                          Hook and Ladder Estate Merlot 2013
                          Merlot from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $27.99
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                            27 99
                            27 99
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                          • McIntyre Kimberly Vineyards Merlot 2013 Front Label
                            McIntyre Kimberly Vineyards Merlot 2013
                            Merlot from Arroyo Seco, Monterey, Central Coast, California
                            • WE92
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $19.99
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                            19 99
                            19 99
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                          • La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot 2013 Front Label
                            La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot 2013
                            Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
                            • RP94
                            4.4 8 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $69.99
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                            100
                            69 99
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                          • Hestan Vineyards Stephanie Merlot 2013 Front Label
                            Hestan Vineyards Stephanie Merlot 2013
                            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $48.99
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                              48 99
                              48 99
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                            • Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Roberta's Reserve 2013 Front Label
                              Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Roberta's Reserve 2013
                              Merlot from Yountville, Napa Valley, California
                              • RP100
                              • JS100
                              4.7 7 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $399.99
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                              399 99
                              399 99
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                            • Flanagan Merlot 2013 Front Label
                              Flanagan Merlot 2013
                              Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                              • WS92
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $85.00
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                              85
                              85
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                            • Mt. Brave Merlot 2013 Front Label
                              Mt. Brave Merlot 2013
                              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                              • RP94
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $79.99
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                              79 99
                              79 99
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                            • Hagafen Merlot (OU Kosher) 2013 Front Label
                              Hagafen Merlot (OU Kosher) 2013
                              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $29.98
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                                32
                                29 98
                                Save $2.02 (6%)
                              • La Jota W.S. Keyes Merlot 2013 Front Label
                                La Jota W.S. Keyes Merlot 2013
                                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                • RP95
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $134.99
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                                150
                                134 99
                                Save $15.01 (10%)
                              • Matanzas Creek Winemaker's Reserve Merlot (Sonoma Barrel Auction) 2013 Front Label
                                Matanzas Creek Winemaker's Reserve Merlot (Sonoma Barrel Auction) 2013
                                Merlot from Bennett Valley, Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
                                  4.1 8 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $39.99
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                                  39 99
                                  39 99
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                                • B.R. Cohn Petricka Vineyard Merlot 2013 Front Label
                                  B.R. Cohn Petricka Vineyard Merlot 2013
                                  Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
                                    0.0 0 Ratings
                                    Currently Unavailable $29.97
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                                    36
                                    29 97
                                    Save $6.03 (17%)
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