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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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  • Stone Cellars Merlot 2017  Front Label
    Stone Cellars Merlot 2017
    Merlot from California
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      Currently Unavailable $7.99
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      7 99
      7 99
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    • Guenoc California Merlot 2017 Front Label
      Guenoc California Merlot 2017
      Merlot from California
        2.9 13 Ratings
        Regular price
        Currently Unavailable $10.99
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        12
        10 99
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      • Cypress Merlot 2017  Front Label
        Cypress Merlot 2017
        Merlot from Central Coast, California
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          10 99
          10 99
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        • Spellbound Merlot 2017  Front Label
          Spellbound Merlot 2017
          Merlot from California
            4.3 30 Ratings
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            Currently Unavailable $16.99
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            16 99
            16 99
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          • Scheid Vineyards Merlot 2017  Front Label
            Scheid Vineyards Merlot 2017
            Merlot from Monterey, Central Coast, California
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              Currently Unavailable $37.99
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              37 99
              37 99
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            • Brander Merlot 2017 Front Label
              Brander Merlot 2017
              Merlot from Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
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                24 99
                24 99
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              • McManis Family Vineyards Merlot 2017 Front Label
                McManis Family Vineyards Merlot 2017
                Merlot from California
                • WE89
                3.9 12 Ratings
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                Currently Unavailable $10.99
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                13
                10 99
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              • Angeline Reserve Merlot 2017 Front Label
                Angeline Reserve Merlot 2017
                Merlot from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
                  3.9 8 Ratings
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                  Currently Unavailable $13.99
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                  13 99
                  13 99
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                • Cannonball Eleven Merlot 2017  Front Label
                  Cannonball Eleven Merlot 2017
                  Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
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                    Currently Unavailable $32.99
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                    32 99
                    32 99
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                  • AVA Grace Merlot 2017  Front Label
                    AVA Grace Merlot 2017
                    Merlot from California
                      4.0 33 Ratings
                      Regular price
                      Currently Unavailable $8.99
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                      12
                      8 99
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                    • Cycles Gladiator Merlot 2017  Front Label
                      Cycles Gladiator Merlot 2017
                      Merlot from Central Coast, California
                      • WW88
                      4.0 24 Ratings
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                      Currently Unavailable $12.99
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                      12 99
                      12 99
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                    • Chloe Merlot 2017  Front Label
                      Chloe Merlot 2017
                      Merlot from San Lucas, Monterey, Central Coast, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
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                        Currently Unavailable $13.99
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                        18
                        13 99
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