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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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34 Items
  • Pahlmeyer Merlot 1995  Front Label
    Pahlmeyer Merlot 1995
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • RP94
    • WS90
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    Currently Unavailable $149.97
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    149 97
    149 97
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  • Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 1995 Front Label
    Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 1995
    Merlot from North Coast, California
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      Currently Unavailable $59.97
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      59 97
      59 97
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    • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 1995 Front Label
      Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 1995
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $57.99
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        57 99
        57 99
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      • St. Francis Merlot 1995
        Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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          Currently Unavailable $23.99
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          23 99
          23 99
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        • Trentadue Merlot 1995 Front Label
          Trentadue Merlot 1995
          Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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            Currently Unavailable $18.99
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            18 99
            18 99
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          • Pine Ridge Crimson Creek Merlot (half-bottle) 1995
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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              Currently Unavailable $10.99
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              10 99
              10 99
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            • Stonestreet Alexander Valley Merlot (half-bottle) 1995
              Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
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                Currently Unavailable $22.99
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                22 99
                22 99
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              • Mirassou Harvest Reserve Merlot 1995
                Merlot from Central Coast, California
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                  Currently Unavailable $20.49
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                  20 49
                  20 49
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                • Markham Reserve Merlot 1995
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                    Currently Unavailable $55.99
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                    55 99
                    55 99
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                  • William Hill Napa Valley Merlot 1995 Front Label
                    William Hill Napa Valley Merlot 1995
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                      Currently Unavailable $28.99
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                      28 99
                      28 99
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                    • Liparita Merlot 1995 Front Label
                      Liparita Merlot 1995
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                        Currently Unavailable $29.97
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                        29 97
                        29 97
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                      • Fetzer Reserve Merlot 1995
                        Merlot from California
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                          Currently Unavailable $27.99
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                          29 99
                          27 99
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                        • Kendall-Jackson Buckeye Vineyard Merlot 1995 Front Label
                          Kendall-Jackson Buckeye Vineyard Merlot 1995
                          Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $32.99
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                            32 99
                            32 99
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                          • Charles Krug Reserve Merlot 1995 Front Label
                            Charles Krug Reserve Merlot 1995
                            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $30.99
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                              30 99
                              30 99
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                            • Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 1995 Front Label
                              Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 1995
                              Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $32.99
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                                32 99
                                32 99
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                              • Duckhorn Estate Grown Merlot 1995 Front Label
                                Duckhorn Estate Grown Merlot 1995
                                Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
                                • WS91
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $51.99
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                                51 99
                                51 99
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                              • Robert Sinskey Merlot 1995
                                Merlot from Carneros, California
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                                  Currently Unavailable $51.99
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                                  51 99
                                  51 99
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                                • St. Francis Merlot (1.5L) 1995
                                  Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                                    0.0 0 Ratings
                                    Currently Unavailable $52.99
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                                    52 99
                                    52 99
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                                  • Duckhorn Merlot Howell Mountain 1995 Front Label
                                    Duckhorn Merlot Howell Mountain 1995
                                    Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
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                                      Currently Unavailable $66.99
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                                      66 99
                                      66 99
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                                    • Kunde Merlot (1.5 L) 1995 Front Label
                                      Kunde Merlot (1.5 L) 1995
                                      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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                                        Currently Unavailable $50.99
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                                        50 99
                                        50 99
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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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                                      • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 1995 Front Label
                                        Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 1995
                                        Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
                                          0.0 0 Ratings
                                          Currently Unavailable $79.99
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                                          79 99
                                          79 99
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                                        • St. Francis Reserve Merlot 1995 Front Label
                                          St. Francis Reserve Merlot 1995
                                          Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                                          • WE95
                                          • WS91
                                          0.0 0 Ratings
                                          Currently Unavailable $36.89
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                                          40 99
                                          36 89
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                                        • Lewis Cellars Reserve Merlot 1995 Front Label
                                          Lewis Cellars Reserve Merlot 1995
                                          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                          • WS92
                                          0.0 0 Ratings
                                          Currently Unavailable $209.00
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                                          209
                                          209
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                                        • Rombauer Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1995 Front Label
                                          Rombauer Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1995
                                          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                            0.0 0 Ratings
                                            Currently Unavailable $99.97
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                                            99 97
                                            99 97
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