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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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  • Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 2001 Front Label
    Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 2001
    Merlot from North Coast, California
    • WS93
    • RP90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $64.97
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    64 97
    64 97
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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
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $24.99
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      44 99
      24 99
      Save $20.00 (44%)
    • Ray's Station Alexander Valley Merlot 2001 Front Label
      Ray's Station Alexander Valley Merlot 2001
      Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $17.99
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        17 99
        17 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 2016 Vintage 27 99
        25 99
        25 99
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      • Pepperwood Grove Merlot 2001 Front Label
        Pepperwood Grove Merlot 2001
        Merlot from California
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $9.99
          Try the 2014 Vintage 9 99
          9 99
          9 99
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        • Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Merlot 2001 Front Label
          Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Merlot 2001
          Merlot from Sonoma County, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $29.99
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            29 99
            29 99
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          • Starmont Merlot 2001
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • WE90
            • W&S90
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $23.99
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            27 99
            23 99
            Save $4.00 (14%)
          • Stags' Leap Winery Estate Reserve Merlot 2001 Front Label
            Stags' Leap Winery Estate Reserve Merlot 2001
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
              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
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $44.99
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                44 99
                44 99
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              • Charles Krug Napa Valley Merlot 2001 Front Label
                Charles Krug Napa Valley Merlot 2001
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $19.99
                  Try the 2016 Vintage 23 99
                  19 99
                  19 99
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                • Chalk Hill Merlot 2001 Front Label
                  Chalk Hill Merlot 2001
                  Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                  • RP89
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $15.99
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                  49 99
                  15 99
                  Save $34.00 (68%)
                • Sterling Reserve Merlot 2001 Front Label
                  Sterling Reserve Merlot 2001
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                  • WE89
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $44.99
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                  44 99
                  44 99
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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
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $24.99
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                    39 99
                    24 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 $29.99
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                      31 99
                      29 99
                      Save $2.00 (6%)
                    • Blackstone Napa Merlot (half-bottle) 2001 Front Label
                      Blackstone Napa Merlot (half-bottle) 2001
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $11.99
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                        11 99
                        11 99
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                      • Raymond Estates Merlot 2001 Front Label
                        Raymond Estates Merlot 2001
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $12.99
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                          15 99
                          12 99
                          Save $3.00 (19%)
                        • Paloma Spring Mountain Merlot 2001 Front Label
                          Paloma Spring Mountain Merlot 2001
                          Merlot from Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
                          • WS95
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $149.00
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                          149
                          149
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                        • Blackstone California Merlot 2001 Front Label
                          Blackstone California Merlot 2001
                          Merlot from California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $16.99
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                            16 99
                            16 99
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                          • Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 2001 Front Label
                            Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 2001
                            Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                            • W&S90
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $30.99
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                            30 99
                            30 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
                              Try the 2016 Vintage 9 99
                              13 99
                              13 99
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                            • TwoTone Farm Merlot 2001 Front Label
                              TwoTone Farm Merlot 2001
                              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                              • WS87
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                              18 99
                              18 99
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                            • Clos Pegase Mitsuko's Vineyard Merlot 2001 Front Label
                              Clos Pegase Mitsuko's Vineyard Merlot 2001
                              Merlot from Carneros, California
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $24.99
                                Try the 2018 Vintage 27 99
                                24 99
                                24 99
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                              • Provenance Vineyards Carneros Merlot 2001 Front Label
                                Provenance Vineyards Carneros Merlot 2001
                                Merlot from Carneros, California
                                • W&S94
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $26.99
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                                29 99
                                26 99
                                Save $3.00 (10%)
                              • Sterling Vintner's Collection Merlot 2001 Front Label
                                Sterling Vintner's Collection Merlot 2001
                                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                  0.0 0 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $12.99
                                  Try the 2017 Vintage 12 99
                                  14 99
                                  12 99
                                  Save $2.00 (13%)
                                • Forest Glen Barrel Select Merlot (half-bottle) 2001
                                  Merlot from California
                                    0.0 0 Ratings
                                    Currently Unavailable $8.99
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                                    8 99
                                    8 99
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