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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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38 Items
  • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (3 Liter Bottle)  2017  Front Label
    Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 2017
    Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
    • WS96
    • CG93
    • WW93
    • W&S92
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $429.97
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    429 97
    429 97
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  • Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2004 Front Label
    Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2004
    Merlot from North Coast, California
    • WS94
    • WE90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $179.97
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    179 97
    179 97
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  • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (creased label - 1.5 Liter Magnum) 2014 Front Label
    Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (creased label - 1.5 Liter Magnum) 2014
    Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
    • WS95
    • WE94
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $399.97
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    399 97
    399 97
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  • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 2015 Front Label
    Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 2015
    Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
    • WW94
    • WE93
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $399.97
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    399 97
    399 97
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  • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2012 Front Label
    Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2012
    Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
    • CG96
    • WE93
    • WW93
    • JS92
    5.0 7 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $189.97
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    200
    189 97
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  • Duckhorn Howell Mountain Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2001
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $119.97
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      119 97
      119 97
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    • Duckhorn Estate Grown Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2002
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      • W&S93
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $119.97
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      119 97
      119 97
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    • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 2016  Front Label
      Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 2016
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $209.99
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        209 99
        209 99
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      • Shafer Napa Valley Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2014 Front Label
        Shafer Napa Valley Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2014
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • TP95
        • RP92
        • WW92
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $129.97
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        129 97
        129 97
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      • Lambert Bridge Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2008 Front Label
        Lambert Bridge Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2008
        Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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          Currently Unavailable $134.97
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          134 97
          134 97
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        • Shafer Napa Valley Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2012 Front Label
          Shafer Napa Valley Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2012
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          • RP95
          • WS92
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $134.97
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          134 97
          134 97
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        • Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2010 Front Label
          Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2010
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          • WW91
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $109.00
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          109
          109
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        • Duckhorn Estate Grown Merlot (1.5L Magnum) 1995 Front Label
          Duckhorn Estate Grown Merlot (1.5L Magnum) 1995
          Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
          • WS91
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $125.00
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          125
          125
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        • Shafer Napa Valley Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2007 Front Label
          Shafer Napa Valley Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2007
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          • WS92
          • RP90
          • CG90
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $105.00
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          105
          105
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        • Pahlmeyer Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2009 Front Label
          Pahlmeyer Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2009
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          • WS94
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $139.00
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          139
          139
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        • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 1995  Front Label
          Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 1995
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $339.97
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            339 97
            339 97
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          • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (3 Liter Bottle)  2013 Front Label
            Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 2013
            Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
            • WW98
            • CG93
            • WS92
            • WE92
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $379.00
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            379
            379
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          • Beringer Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot (1.5L) 1993 Front Label
            Beringer Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot (1.5L) 1993
            Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
            • RP93
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $159.00
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            159
            159
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          • Pahlmeyer Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1996 Front Label
            Pahlmeyer Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1996
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • RP97
            • WS92
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $239.00
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            239
            239
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          • Pahlmeyer Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum)  2012 Front Label
            Pahlmeyer Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2012
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • JS97
            • WS93
            • RP91
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $145.00
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            145
            145
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          • Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2003 Front Label
            Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2003
            Merlot from North Coast, California
            • WS92
            • CG90
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $249.97
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            249 97
            249 97
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          • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 2006 Front Label
            Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 2006
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • WE92
            • CG90
            • RP90
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $160.00
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            208
            160
            Save $48.00 (23%)
          • Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Roberta's Reserve (1.5 Liter) 2011 Front Label
            Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Roberta's Reserve (1.5 Liter) 2011
            Merlot from Yountville, Napa Valley, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $839.00
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              839
              839
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            • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1995 Front Label
              Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1995
              Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $149.00
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                149
                149
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              • Rombauer Merlot (3 Liter) 1995 Front Label
                Rombauer Merlot (3 Liter) 1995
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $199.97
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                  199 97
                  199 97
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