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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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  • Hawk Crest Merlot 2004 Front Label
    Hawk Crest Merlot 2004
    Merlot from California
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $14.29
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      14 28
      14 28
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    • Rombauer Merlot 2004 Front Label
      Rombauer Merlot 2004
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $23.99
        Try the 2017 Vintage 47 99
        28 99
        23 99
        Save $5.00 (17%)
      • Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 2004 Front Label
        Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 2004
        Merlot from North Coast, California
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $85.00
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          85
          85
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        • Raymond Reserve Selection Merlot 2004 Front Label
          Raymond Reserve Selection Merlot 2004
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $19.99
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            19 99
            19 99
            Save $0.00 (0%)
          • Miner Family Stagecoach Vineyard Merlot 2004 Front Label
            Miner Family Stagecoach Vineyard Merlot 2004
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $19.99
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              35
              19 99
              Save $15.01 (43%)
            • Ravenswood Sonoma Merlot 2004 Front Label
              Ravenswood Sonoma Merlot 2004
              Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                2.8 5 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $8.99
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                18
                8 99
                Save $9.01 (50%)
              • Wente Merlot 2004 Front Label
                Wente Merlot 2004
                Merlot from Central Coast, California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $10.99
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                  12 49
                  10 99
                  Save $1.50 (12%)
                • Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot 2004 Front Label
                  Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot 2004
                  Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $21.99
                    Try the 2018 Vintage 17 99
                    21 99
                    21 99
                    Save $0.00 (0%)
                  • Stags' Leap Winery Merlot 2004 Front Label
                    Stags' Leap Winery Merlot 2004
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $32.99
                      Try the 2016 Vintage 32 99
                      32 99
                      32 99
                      Save $0.00 (0%)
                    • Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 2004 Front Label
                      Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 2004
                      Merlot from California
                      • WE91
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $22.99
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                      26
                      22 99
                      Save $3.01 (12%)
                    • Clos du Bois Merlot 2004 Front Label
                      Clos du Bois Merlot 2004
                      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $11.95
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                        18
                        11 95
                        Save $6.05 (34%)
                      • Duckhorn Estate Grown Merlot 2004 Front Label
                        Duckhorn Estate Grown Merlot 2004
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        • WE95
                        • WS91
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $68.99
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                        85
                        68 99
                        Save $16.01 (19%)
                      • Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2004 Front Label
                        Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2004
                        Merlot from North Coast, California
                        • WS94
                        • WE90
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $179.97
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                        179 97
                        179 97
                        Save $0.00 (0%)
                      • Pahlmeyer Merlot 2004 Front Label
                        Pahlmeyer Merlot 2004
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        • CG95
                        • WS92
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $69.99
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                        90
                        69 99
                        Save $20.01 (22%)
                      • Turnbull Merlot 2004 Front Label
                        Turnbull Merlot 2004
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $27.98
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                          36 99
                          27 98
                          Save $9.01 (24%)
                        • Clos du Bois Alexander Valley Reserve Merlot 2004 Front Label
                          Clos du Bois Alexander Valley Reserve Merlot 2004
                          Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $17.95
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                            24 99
                            17 95
                            Save $7.04 (28%)
                          • J. Garcia Merlot 2004
                            Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $19.79
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                              19 79
                              19 79
                              Save $0.00 (0%)
                            • Rutherford Hill Merlot 2004 Front Label
                              Rutherford Hill Merlot 2004
                              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $19.99
                                Try the 2016 Vintage 27 99
                                26 99
                                19 99
                                Save $7.00 (26%)
                              • Grgich Hills Estate Merlot 2004 Front Label
                                Grgich Hills Estate Merlot 2004
                                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                  0.0 0 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $62.99
                                  Try the 2016 Vintage 43 99
                                  62 99
                                  62 99
                                  Save $0.00 (0%)
                                • Swanson Oakville Merlot 2004 Front Label
                                  Swanson Oakville Merlot 2004
                                  Merlot from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
                                  • WE88
                                  0.0 0 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $19.99
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                                  30
                                  19 99
                                  Save $10.01 (33%)
                                • California's Jewel Merlot 2004 Front Label
                                  California's Jewel Merlot 2004
                                  Merlot from California
                                    0.0 0 Ratings
                                    Currently Unavailable $9.79
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                                    9 79
                                    9 79
                                    Save $0.00 (0%)
                                  • Luna Vineyards Merlot 2004 Front Label
                                    Luna Vineyards Merlot 2004
                                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                    • WS91
                                    0.0 0 Ratings
                                    Currently Unavailable $32.99
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                                    32 99
                                    32 99
                                    Save $0.00 (0%)
                                  • Ferrari-Carano Merlot (3 Liter Double Magnum) 2004 Front Label
                                    Ferrari-Carano Merlot (3 Liter Double Magnum) 2004
                                    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                                      0.0 0 Ratings
                                      Currently Unavailable $69.99
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                                      100
                                      69 99
                                      Save $30.01 (30%)
                                    • O'Shaughnessy Howell Mountain Merlot 2004 Front Label
                                      O'Shaughnessy Howell Mountain Merlot 2004
                                      Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
                                      • WS93
                                      0.0 0 Ratings
                                      Currently Unavailable $79.97
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                                      79 97
                                      79 97
                                      Save $0.00 (0%)
                                    • Silverado Merlot 2004 Front Label
                                      Silverado Merlot 2004
                                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                        0.0 0 Ratings
                                        Currently Unavailable $29.99
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                                        36 99
                                        29 99
                                        Save $7.00 (19%)
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