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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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  • Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Merlot 2005 Front Label
    Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Merlot 2005
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $32.99
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      32 99
      32 99
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    • Robert Mondavi Napa Merlot 2005 Front Label
      Robert Mondavi Napa Merlot 2005
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $22.99
        Try the 2018 Vintage 27 99
        22 99
        22 99
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      • Beringer Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot 2005 Front Label
        Beringer Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot 2005
        Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
        • WE94
        • WS93
        • RP90
        4.2 15 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $71.99
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        71 99
        71 99
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      • Whitehall Lane Merlot (half-bottle) 2005 Front Label
        Whitehall Lane Merlot (half-bottle) 2005
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WE92
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $14.99
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        25
        14 99
        Save $10.01 (40%)
      • Duckhorn Estate Grown Merlot 2005 Front Label
        Duckhorn Estate Grown Merlot 2005
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WE94
        • WS91
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $79.99
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        79 99
        79 99
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      • Markham Merlot 2005 Front Label
        Markham Merlot 2005
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $23.99
          Try the 2018 Vintage 22 99
          23 99
          23 99
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        • Wente Sandstone Merlot 2005 Front Label
          Wente Sandstone Merlot 2005
          Merlot from Central Coast, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $14.99
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            14 99
            14 99
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          • Beringer Third Century Merlot 2005 Front Label
            Beringer Third Century Merlot 2005
            Merlot from North Coast, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $18.49
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              18 49
              18 49
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            • Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2005  Front Label
              Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2005
              Merlot from North Coast, California
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $139.97
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                139 97
                139 97
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              • Vendange NV Merlot 2005 Front Label
                Vendange NV Merlot 2005
                Merlot from California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $7.99
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                  7 99
                  7 99
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                • Newton Unfiltered Merlot 2005 Front Label
                  Newton Unfiltered Merlot 2005
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                  • RP91
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $52.97
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                  60
                  52 97
                  Save $7.03 (12%)
                • Luna Vineyards Merlot 2005 Front Label
                  Luna Vineyards Merlot 2005
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $28.99
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                    28 99
                    28 99
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                  • Clos Du Val Merlot 2005 Front Label
                    Clos Du Val Merlot 2005
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $26.99
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                      26 99
                      26 99
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                    • Rutherford Hill Merlot 2005 Front Label
                      Rutherford Hill Merlot 2005
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $22.99
                        Try the 2018 Vintage 29 99
                        22 99
                        22 99
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                      • Franciscan Estate Merlot 2005 Front Label
                        Franciscan Estate Merlot 2005
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                          4.2 12 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $21.99
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                          21 99
                          21 99
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                        • Gallo of Sonoma Merlot 2005 Front Label
                          Gallo of Sonoma Merlot 2005
                          Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $14.29
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                            14 28
                            14 28
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                          • J. Garcia Merlot 2005 Front Label
                            J. Garcia Merlot 2005
                            Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $12.99
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                              12 99
                              12 99
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                            • Mirassou Merlot 2005 Front Label
                              Mirassou Merlot 2005
                              Merlot from California
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $9.29
                                Try the 2019 Vintage 11 99
                                9 28
                                9 28
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                              • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2005 Front Label
                                Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2005
                                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                • WE90
                                3.2 5 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $53.99
                                Try the 2017 Vintage 52 99
                                53 99
                                53 99
                                Save $0.00 (0%)
                              • Hestan Vineyards Stephanie Merlot 2005  Front Label
                                Hestan Vineyards Stephanie Merlot 2005
                                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                  0.0 0 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $49.97
                                  Try the 2015 Vintage 44 99
                                  49 97
                                  49 97
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                                • Sebastiani Alexander Valley Merlot 2005 Front Label
                                  Sebastiani Alexander Valley Merlot 2005
                                  Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
                                    0.0 0 Ratings
                                    Currently Unavailable $17.99
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                                    21 99
                                    17 99
                                    Save $4.00 (18%)
                                  • Parducci Merlot 2005 Front Label
                                    Parducci Merlot 2005
                                    Merlot from North Coast, California
                                      0.0 0 Ratings
                                      Currently Unavailable $11.99
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                                      11 99
                                      11 99
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                                    • Hayman & Hill Napa Valley Merlot 2005 Front Label
                                      Hayman & Hill Napa Valley Merlot 2005
                                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                      • WE90
                                      3.2 12 Ratings
                                      Currently Unavailable $12.99
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                                      15
                                      12 99
                                      Save $2.01 (13%)
                                    • Callaway Coastal Merlot 2005 Front Label
                                      Callaway Coastal Merlot 2005
                                      Merlot from California
                                        0.0 0 Ratings
                                        Currently Unavailable $10.79
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                                        10 79
                                        10 79
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                                      • BV Century Cellars Merlot 2005 Front Label
                                        BV Century Cellars Merlot 2005
                                        Merlot from California
                                          0.0 0 Ratings
                                          Currently Unavailable $7.99
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                                          7 99
                                          7 99
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