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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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207 Items
  • Paloma Spring Mountain Merlot 1998 Front Label
    Paloma Spring Mountain Merlot 1998
    Merlot from Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
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      Currently Unavailable $61.97
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      61 97
      61 97
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    • Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 1998  Front Label
      Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 1998
      Merlot from North Coast, California
      • WS93
      • WE93
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      Currently Unavailable $59.97
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      59 97
      59 97
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    • Buena Vista Merlot 1998 Front Label
      Buena Vista Merlot 1998
      Merlot from California
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        Currently Unavailable $12.99
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        12 99
        12 99
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      • Rutherford Hill Merlot 1998 Front Label
        Rutherford Hill Merlot 1998
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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          Currently Unavailable $27.49
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          27 49
          27 49
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        • Ferrari-Carano Merlot 1998
          Merlot from Sonoma County, California
          • WS86
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          Currently Unavailable $27.99
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          27 99
          27 99
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        • Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Merlot 1998
          Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
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            Currently Unavailable $26.99
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            26 99
            26 99
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          • Verite  1998 Front Label
            Verite 1998
            Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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              Currently Unavailable $159.00
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              159
              159
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            • Bridgeview Paso Robles Black Beauty Merlot 1998
              Merlot from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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                Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                18 99
                18 99
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              • Newton Merlot Unfiltered 1998 Front Label
                Newton Merlot Unfiltered 1998
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                  Currently Unavailable $50.99
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                  50 99
                  50 99
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                • Charles Krug Napa Valley Merlot 1998 Front Label
                  Charles Krug Napa Valley Merlot 1998
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                    Currently Unavailable $21.99
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                    21 99
                    21 99
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                  • Atalon Mountain Estate Merlot 1998 Front Label
                    Atalon Mountain Estate Merlot 1998
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    • WE92
                    • W&S91
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                    Currently Unavailable $31.99
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                    31 99
                    31 99
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                  • Ravenswood Napa Merlot 1998 Front Label
                    Ravenswood Napa Merlot 1998
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                      Currently Unavailable $19.99
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                      19 99
                      19 99
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                    • Artesa Sonoma Merlot 1998 Front Label
                      Artesa Sonoma Merlot 1998
                      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                      • WS87
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                      Currently Unavailable $24.99
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                      24 99
                      24 99
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                    • Bonterra Organically Grown Merlot 1998
                      Merlot from North Coast, California
                      • WS86
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                      Currently Unavailable $20.99
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                      20 99
                      20 99
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                    • Pine Ridge Crimson Creek Merlot 1998
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                        Currently Unavailable $31.99
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                        31 99
                        31 99
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                      • Sterling Merlot (half-bottle) 1998 Front Label
                        Sterling Merlot (half-bottle) 1998
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                          Currently Unavailable $15.99
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                          15 99
                          15 99
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                        • Rabbit Ridge Winemakers Grand Reserve Merlot 1998
                          Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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                            Currently Unavailable $33.99
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                            33 99
                            33 99
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                          • Raymond Reserve Selection Merlot 1998
                            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                            • WE89
                            • WS85
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                            Currently Unavailable $25.64
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                            28 49
                            25 64
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                          • Blackstone Napa Merlot 1998
                            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                            • WE89
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                            Currently Unavailable $17.54
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                            19 49
                            17 54
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                          • Deer Valley Merlot 1998
                            Merlot from California
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                              Currently Unavailable $9.49
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                              10 99
                              9 49
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                            • Gallo of Sonoma Merlot 1998 Front Label
                              Gallo of Sonoma Merlot 1998
                              Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                              • WS87
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                              Currently Unavailable $8.99
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                              8 99
                              8 99
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                            • Fetzer Eagle Peak Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 1998
                              Merlot from Central Coast, California
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                                Currently Unavailable $7.99
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                                8 99
                                7 99
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                              • Kirkland Ranch Merlot 1998
                                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                                  Currently Unavailable $34.99
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                                  34 99
                                  34 99
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                                • Blackstone Merlot 1998 Front Label
                                  Blackstone Merlot 1998
                                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                                    Currently Unavailable $12.99
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                                    12 99
                                    12 99
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                                  • Clos du Bois Merlot (half-bottle) 1998
                                    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                                      0.0 0 Ratings
                                      Currently Unavailable $11.99
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                                      11 99
                                      11 99
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