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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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  • Nickel & Nickel Sori Bricco Vineyard Merlot 2001  Front Label
    Nickel & Nickel Sori Bricco Vineyard Merlot 2001
    Merlot from Diamond Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
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      Currently Unavailable $43.99
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      43 99
      43 99
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    • Mirassou Merlot 2001 Front Label
      Mirassou Merlot 2001
      Merlot from California
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        Currently Unavailable $14.99
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        14 99
        14 99
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      • Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 2001 Front Label
        Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 2001
        Merlot from North Coast, California
        • WS93
        • RP90
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        Currently Unavailable $109.97
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        109 97
        109 97
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      • St. Francis Behler Vineyard Reserve Merlot 2001 Front Label
        St. Francis Behler Vineyard Reserve Merlot 2001
        Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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          Currently Unavailable $44.99
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          44 99
          44 99
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        • Dynamite Vineyards Dynamite Merlot (1.5 Liter) 2001 Front Label
          Dynamite Vineyards Dynamite Merlot (1.5 Liter) 2001
          Merlot from North Coast, California
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            Currently Unavailable $24.99
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            44 99
            24 99
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          • Flora Springs Merlot 2001
            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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          • Cartlidge & Browne Merlot 2001 Front Label
            Cartlidge & Browne Merlot 2001
            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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            • Beringer Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot 2001  Front Label
              Beringer Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot 2001
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              • WS90
              • RP90
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $79.99
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              79 99
              79 99
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            • Rutherford Hill Merlot 2001 Front Label
              Rutherford Hill Merlot 2001
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              • W&S91
              • CG91
              • WE90
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $25.99
              Try the 2018 Vintage 28 99
              25 99
              25 99
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            • Pepperwood Grove Merlot 2001 Front Label
              Pepperwood Grove Merlot 2001
              Merlot from California
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                Currently Unavailable $9.99
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                9 99
                9 99
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              • Clos du Bois Merlot 2001 Front Label
                Clos du Bois Merlot 2001
                Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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                  Currently Unavailable $22.99
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                  22 99
                  22 99
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                • Stags' Leap Winery Estate Reserve Merlot 2001 Front Label
                  Stags' Leap Winery Estate Reserve Merlot 2001
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                    Currently Unavailable $39.99
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                    39 99
                    39 99
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                  • Shafer Napa Valley Merlot 2001 Front Label
                    Shafer Napa Valley Merlot 2001
                    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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                    • Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Merlot 2001 Front Label
                      Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Merlot 2001
                      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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                        Currently Unavailable $27.99
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                        27 99
                        27 99
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                      • Sterling Reserve Merlot 2001 Front Label
                        Sterling Reserve Merlot 2001
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        • WE89
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                        Currently Unavailable $44.99
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                        44 99
                        44 99
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                      • B.R. Cohn Sonoma Valley Merlot 2001 Front Label
                        B.R. Cohn Sonoma Valley Merlot 2001
                        Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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                          Currently Unavailable $27.99
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                          27 99
                          27 99
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                        • Newton Unfiltered Merlot 2001 Front Label
                          Newton Unfiltered Merlot 2001
                          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                            Currently Unavailable $54.99
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                            54 99
                            54 99
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                          • Del Dotto Merlot 2001  Front Label
                            Del Dotto Merlot 2001
                            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                              Currently Unavailable $39.97
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                              39 97
                              39 97
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                            • Raymond Reserve Selection Merlot 2001 Front Label
                              Raymond Reserve Selection Merlot 2001
                              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $22.99
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                                22 99
                                22 99
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                              • Louis Martini Del Rio Merlot 2001 Front Label
                                Louis Martini Del Rio Merlot 2001
                                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                  0.0 0 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $2,761.20
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                                  2,761 20
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                                • Blackstone Napa Merlot (half-bottle) 2001 Front Label
                                  Blackstone Napa Merlot (half-bottle) 2001
                                  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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                                  • Raymond Estates Merlot 2001 Front Label
                                    Raymond Estates Merlot 2001
                                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                                      Currently Unavailable $12.99
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                                      15 99
                                      12 99
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                                    • J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot 2001 Front Label
                                      J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot 2001
                                      Merlot from Central Coast, California
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                                        Currently Unavailable $22.99
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                                        22 99
                                        22 99
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                                      • Carmenet Merlot 2001 Front Label
                                        Carmenet Merlot 2001
                                        Merlot from California
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                                          Currently Unavailable $13.99
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                                          13 99
                                          13 99
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                                        • Smoking Loon Merlot 2001 Front Label
                                          Smoking Loon Merlot 2001
                                          Merlot from California
                                            0.0 0 Ratings
                                            Currently Unavailable $13.99
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                                            13 99
                                            13 99
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