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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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  • Paloma Spring Mountain Merlot 2006 Front Label
    Paloma Spring Mountain Merlot 2006
    Merlot from Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
    • WS93
    • RP93
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $79.97
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    79 97
    79 97
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  • Hayman & Hill Napa Valley Merlot 2006 Front Label
    Hayman & Hill Napa Valley Merlot 2006
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      3.5 11 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $14.99
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      14 99
      14 99
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    • Ravenswood Vintners Blend Merlot 2006 Front Label
      Ravenswood Vintners Blend Merlot 2006
      Merlot from California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $7.99
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        7 99
        7 99
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      • Raymond Reserve Selection Merlot 2006 Front Label
        Raymond Reserve Selection Merlot 2006
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $19.99
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          19 99
          19 99
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        • Turnbull Merlot 2006 Front Label
          Turnbull Merlot 2006
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $34.99
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            34 99
            34 99
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          • Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Merlot 2006 Front Label
            Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Merlot 2006
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $44.97
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              44 97
              44 97
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            • Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 2006 Front Label
              Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 2006
              Merlot from California
              • RP89
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $26.99
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              30
              26 99
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            • Vendange Merlot 2006 Front Label
              Vendange Merlot 2006
              Merlot from California
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $7.99
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                7 99
                7 99
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              • Duckhorn Estate Grown Merlot 2006 Front Label
                Duckhorn Estate Grown Merlot 2006
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • WE94
                • W&S90
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $79.99
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                85
                79 99
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              • Brass Tacks Merlot 2006 Front Label
                Brass Tacks Merlot 2006
                Merlot from Central Coast, California
                  4.9 7 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $19.99
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                  19 99
                  19 99
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                • Beringer Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot 2006 Front Label
                  Beringer Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot 2006
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $34.99
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                    50
                    34 99
                    Save $15.01 (30%)
                  • Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Roberta's Reserve 2006 Front Label
                    Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Roberta's Reserve 2006
                    Merlot from Yountville, Napa Valley, California
                    • RP96
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $184.97
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                    184 97
                    184 97
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                  • Wente Sandstone Merlot 2006 Front Label
                    Wente Sandstone Merlot 2006
                    Merlot from Central Coast, California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $16.29
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                      16 28
                      16 28
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                    • Swanson Oakville Merlot 2006 Front Label
                      Swanson Oakville Merlot 2006
                      Merlot from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
                      • CG90
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $34.99
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                      34 99
                      34 99
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                    • Darioush Signature Merlot 2006 Front Label
                      Darioush Signature Merlot 2006
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $54.97
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                        54 97
                        54 97
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                      • Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Merlot 2006 Front Label
                        Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Merlot 2006
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                          3.8 8 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $44.99
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                          50
                          44 99
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                        • Robert Mondavi Napa Merlot 2006 Front Label
                          Robert Mondavi Napa Merlot 2006
                          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $23.99
                            Try the 2018 Vintage 26 99
                            23 99
                            23 99
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                          • Stone Cellars Merlot 2006 Front Label
                            Stone Cellars Merlot 2006
                            Merlot from California
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $7.99
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                              7 99
                              7 99
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                            • BV Century Cellars Merlot 2006 Front Label
                              BV Century Cellars Merlot 2006
                              Merlot from California
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $7.99
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                                7 99
                                7 99
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                              • Robert Mondavi Private Selection Merlot 2006 Front Label
                                Robert Mondavi Private Selection Merlot 2006
                                Merlot from Central Coast, California
                                  0.0 0 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $13.79
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                                  13 79
                                  13 79
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                                • Swanson Oakville Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2006 Front Label
                                  Swanson Oakville Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2006
                                  Merlot from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
                                  • CG90
                                  0.0 0 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $19.99
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                                  19 99
                                  19 99
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                                • Buena Vista Carneros Merlot 2006 Front Label
                                  Buena Vista Carneros Merlot 2006
                                  Merlot from Carneros, California
                                  • CG88
                                  0.0 0 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $17.29
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                                  21
                                  17 28
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                                • Camelot Merlot 2006 Front Label
                                  Camelot Merlot 2006
                                  Merlot from Central Coast, California
                                    0.0 0 Ratings
                                    Currently Unavailable $9.29
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                                    9 28
                                    9 28
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                                  • Wente Merlot 2006
                                    Merlot from Central Coast, California
                                      0.0 0 Ratings
                                      Currently Unavailable $12.79
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                                      12 79
                                      12 79
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                                    • Whitehall Lane Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2006 Front Label
                                      Whitehall Lane Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2006
                                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                      • WE92
                                      0.0 0 Ratings
                                      Currently Unavailable $15.79
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                                      15 79
                                      15 79
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