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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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  • Hestan Vineyards Stephanie Merlot 2005  Front Label
    Hestan Vineyards Stephanie Merlot 2005
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Regular price
      Currently Unavailable $49.97
      Try the 2017 Vintage 59 99
      49 97
      49 97
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    • Tin Roof Merlot 2005 Front Label
      Tin Roof Merlot 2005
      Merlot from California
      • WE90
      3.4 163 Ratings
      Regular price
      Currently Unavailable $9.79
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      13
      9 79
      Save $3.21 (25%)
    • Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Merlot 2005 Front Label
      Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Merlot 2005
      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Regular price
        Currently Unavailable $19.99
        Try the 2019 Vintage 21 99
        19 99
        19 99
        Save $0.00 (0%)
      • Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Merlot 2005 Front Label
        Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Merlot 2005
        Merlot from Sonoma County, California
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $32.99
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          32 99
          32 99
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        • Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Merlot 2005 Front Label
          Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Merlot 2005
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Regular price
            Currently Unavailable $22.99
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            22 99
            22 99
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          • Stonestreet Merlot 2005 Front Label
            Stonestreet Merlot 2005
            Merlot from Sonoma County, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Regular price
              Currently Unavailable $26.99
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              26 99
              26 99
              Save $0.00 (0%)
            • Whitehall Lane Merlot (half-bottle) 2005 Front Label
              Whitehall Lane Merlot (half-bottle) 2005
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              • WE92
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Regular price
              Currently Unavailable $14.99
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              25
              14 99
              Save $10.01 (40%)
            • Beringer Third Century Merlot 2005 Front Label
              Beringer Third Century Merlot 2005
              Merlot from North Coast, California
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Regular price
                Currently Unavailable $18.49
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                18 49
                18 49
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              • Raymond R Collection Merlot 2005 Front Label
                Raymond R Collection Merlot 2005
                Merlot from California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Regular price
                  Currently Unavailable $13.29
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                  13 29
                  13 29
                  Save $0.00 (0%)
                • 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
                    Regular price
                    Currently Unavailable $139.97
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                    139 97
                    139 97
                    Save $0.00 (0%)
                  • Vendange NV Merlot 2005 Front Label
                    Vendange NV Merlot 2005
                    Merlot from California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Regular price
                      Currently Unavailable $7.99
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                      7 99
                      7 99
                      Save $0.00 (0%)
                    • Newton Unfiltered Merlot 2005 Front Label
                      Newton Unfiltered Merlot 2005
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                      • RP91
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Regular price
                      Currently Unavailable $59.99
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                      59 99
                      59 99
                      Save $0.00 (0%)
                    • Hall Napa Valley Merlot 2005 Front Label
                      Hall Napa Valley Merlot 2005
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Regular price
                        Currently Unavailable $29.99
                        Try the 2018 Vintage 41 99
                        34 99
                        29 99
                        Save $5.00 (14%)
                      • Clos Du Val Merlot 2005 Front Label
                        Clos Du Val Merlot 2005
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Regular price
                          Currently Unavailable $26.99
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                          26 99
                          26 99
                          Save $0.00 (0%)
                        • Rutherford Hill Merlot 2005 Front Label
                          Rutherford Hill Merlot 2005
                          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Regular price
                            Currently Unavailable $22.99
                            Try the 2019 Vintage 29 99
                            22 99
                            22 99
                            Save $0.00 (0%)
                          • Concannon Selected Vineyards Merlot 2005 Front Label
                            Concannon Selected Vineyards Merlot 2005
                            Merlot from Central Coast, California
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Regular price
                              Currently Unavailable $10.29
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                              10 29
                              10 29
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                            • Franciscan Estate Merlot 2005 Front Label
                              Franciscan Estate Merlot 2005
                              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                4.2 12 Ratings
                                Regular price
                                Currently Unavailable $21.99
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                                21 99
                                21 99
                                Save $0.00 (0%)
                              • Mirassou Merlot 2005 Front Label
                                Mirassou Merlot 2005
                                Merlot from California
                                  0.0 0 Ratings
                                  Regular price
                                  Currently Unavailable $9.29
                                  Try the 2019 Vintage 10 99
                                  9 29
                                  9 29
                                  Save $0.00 (0%)
                                • J. Garcia Merlot 2005 Front Label
                                  J. Garcia Merlot 2005
                                  Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                                    0.0 0 Ratings
                                    Regular price
                                    Currently Unavailable $13.99
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                                    15 99
                                    13 99
                                    Save $2.00 (13%)
                                  • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2005 Front Label
                                    Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2005
                                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                    • WE90
                                    3.2 5 Ratings
                                    Regular price
                                    Currently Unavailable $53.99
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                                    53 99
                                    53 99
                                    Save $0.00 (0%)
                                  • Parducci Merlot 2005 Front Label
                                    Parducci Merlot 2005
                                    Merlot from North Coast, California
                                      0.0 0 Ratings
                                      Regular price
                                      Currently Unavailable $11.99
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                                      11 99
                                      11 99
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                                    • Stone Cellars Merlot 2005 Front Label
                                      Stone Cellars Merlot 2005
                                      Merlot from California
                                        0.0 0 Ratings
                                        Regular price
                                        Currently Unavailable $8.29
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                                        8 29
                                        8 29
                                        Save $0.00 (0%)
                                      • Duckhorn Estate Grown Merlot 2005 Front Label
                                        Duckhorn Estate Grown Merlot 2005
                                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                        • WE94
                                        • WS91
                                        0.0 0 Ratings
                                        Regular price
                                        Currently Unavailable $79.99
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                                        79 99
                                        79 99
                                        Save $0.00 (0%)
                                      • Pahlmeyer Merlot 2005 Front Label
                                        Pahlmeyer Merlot 2005
                                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                        • RP94
                                        0.0 0 Ratings
                                        Regular price
                                        Currently Unavailable $85.00
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                                        95
                                        85
                                        Save $10.00 (11%)
                                      • Wente Sandstone Merlot 2005 Front Label
                                        Wente Sandstone Merlot 2005
                                        Merlot from Central Coast, California
                                          0.0 0 Ratings
                                          Regular price
                                          Currently Unavailable $14.99
                                          Try the 2020 Vintage 17 99
                                          14 99
                                          14 99
                                          Save $0.00 (0%)
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