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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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251 Items
  • Atalon Merlot 1999 Front Label
    Atalon Merlot 1999
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • RP91
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    Currently Unavailable $19.99
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    24 99
    19 99
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  • Wente Crane Ridge Merlot 1999
    Merlot from Central Coast, California
    • WE91
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    Currently Unavailable $19.34
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    21 49
    19 34
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  • Chateau Julien Merlot 1999
    Merlot from Central Coast, California
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      11 99
      11 99
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    • Dom. St. George Barrel Reserve Merlot 1999
      Merlot from California
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        13 99
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      • Echelon Merlot 1999
        Merlot from Central Coast, California
        • WE85
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        15 49
        13 99
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      • Dunnewood Merlot 1999
        Merlot from California
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          Currently Unavailable $8.99
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          10 99
          8 99
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        • CK Mondavi Merlot 1999
          Merlot from California
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            Currently Unavailable $8.99
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            8 99
            8 99
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          • Rodney Strong Sonoma Merlot 1999
            Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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              Currently Unavailable $21.99
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              21 99
              21 99
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            • Clos du Bois Merlot 1999 Front Label
              Clos du Bois Merlot 1999
              Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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                20 99
                20 99
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              • Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 1999 Front Label
                Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 1999
                Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                • WS86
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                Currently Unavailable $26.99
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                26 99
                26 99
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              • Dom. St. George STG Alexander Valley Merlot 1999
                Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
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                  Currently Unavailable $15.99
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                  15 99
                  15 99
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                • Woodbridge Merlot 1999 Front Label
                  Woodbridge Merlot 1999
                  Merlot from California
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                    Currently Unavailable $9.99
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                    9 99
                    9 99
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                  • Inglenook Estate Merlot 1999
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                      Currently Unavailable $44.99
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                      44 99
                      44 99
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                    • Kenwood Jack London Vineyard Merlot 1999
                      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                      • WS88
                      • W&S87
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                      Currently Unavailable $36.99
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                      36 99
                      36 99
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                    • Robert Mondavi Napa Merlot 1999 Front Label
                      Robert Mondavi Napa Merlot 1999
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                        Currently Unavailable $29.99
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                        29 99
                        29 99
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                      • Artesa Napa Merlot 1999
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        • WS88
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                        Currently Unavailable $27.99
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                        27 99
                        27 99
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                      • Sterling Napa Merlot 1999
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        • WS88
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                        Currently Unavailable $24.99
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                        27 99
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                      • Chateau Souverain Merlot 1999 Front Label
                        Chateau Souverain Merlot 1999
                        Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                        • WS92
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                        Currently Unavailable $16.99
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                        19 99
                        16 99
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                      • Merryvale Reserve Merlot 1999
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        • WE92
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                        Currently Unavailable $29.99
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                        34 99
                        29 99
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                      • Newton Epic Merlot 1999
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        • RP91
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                        Currently Unavailable $50.99
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                        50 99
                        50 99
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                      • Franciscan Estate Merlot 1999 Front Label
                        Franciscan Estate Merlot 1999
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        • W&S91
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                        Currently Unavailable $20.49
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                        26 99
                        20 49
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                      • Matanzas Creek Journey Merlot 1999 Front Label
                        Matanzas Creek Journey Merlot 1999
                        Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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                          Currently Unavailable $79.99
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                          139 99
                          79 99
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                        • Arietta Merlot 1999 Front Label
                          Arietta Merlot 1999
                          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                          • RP92
                          • WS92
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                          Currently Unavailable $74.99
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                          125
                          74 99
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                        • Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 1999 Front Label
                          Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 1999
                          Merlot from North Coast, California
                          • WS90
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                          Currently Unavailable $59.97
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                          59 97
                          59 97
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                        • St. Francis Behler Vineyard Reserve Merlot 1999
                          Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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                            Currently Unavailable $24.99
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                            44 99
                            24 99
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