List Page Learn About Content Graphic

California Merlot

Learn about California Merlot, common tasting notes, defining characteristics and more ...

undefined, null

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.

Filter by
6 Items
6 Items
  • Luna Vineyards Merlot 2003 Front Label
    Luna Vineyards Merlot 2003
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Regular price
      Currently Unavailable $41.99
      Try the
      41 99
      41 99
      Save $0.00 (0%)
    • Robert Sinskey Merlot 2003 Front Label
      Robert Sinskey Merlot 2003
      Merlot from Carneros, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Regular price
        Currently Unavailable $34.99
        Try the
        34 99
        34 99
        Save $0.00 (0%)
      • Benziger Merlot 2003 Front Label
        Benziger Merlot 2003
        Merlot from Sonoma County, California
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $19.99
          Try the
          19 99
          19 99
          Save $0.00 (0%)
        • Bonterra Organically Grown Merlot 2003 Front Label
          Bonterra Organically Grown Merlot 2003
          Merlot from North Coast, California
          • WE90
          3.2 5 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $18.99
          Try the 2020 Vintage 12 99
          18 99
          18 99
          Save $0.00 (0%)
        • Grgich Hills Estate Merlot 2003 Front Label
          Grgich Hills Estate Merlot 2003
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Regular price
            Currently Unavailable $49.99
            Try the 2018 Vintage 42 99
            49 99
            49 99
            Save $0.00 (0%)
          • Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Merlot 2003  Front Label
            Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Merlot 2003
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              4.0 5 Ratings
              Regular price
              Currently Unavailable $64.99
              Try the
              64 99
              64 99
              Save $0.00 (0%)
            Sorry, we couldn't find any matches.

            Internet Explorer is no longer supported.
            Please use a different browser like Edge, Chrome or Firefox to enjoy all that Wine.com has to offer.

            It's easy to make the switch.
            Enjoy better browsing and increased security.

            Yes, Update Now

            Search for ""

            Processing Your Order...