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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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  • St. Francis Merlot 2008 Front Label
    St. Francis Merlot 2008
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $24.99
      Try the 2017 Vintage 21 99
      24 99
      24 99
      Save $0.00 (0%)
    • Pride Mountain Vineyards Vintner Select Merlot 2008 Front Label
      Pride Mountain Vineyards Vintner Select Merlot 2008
      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $139.97
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        139 97
        139 97
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      • Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Merlot 2008 Front Label
        Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Merlot 2008
        Merlot from Sonoma County, California
        • WE90
        • W&S90
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $17.99
        Try the 2016 Vintage 21 99
        21 99
        17 99
        Save $4.00 (18%)
      • Pedroncelli Bench Vineyards Merlot 2008 Front Label
        Pedroncelli Bench Vineyards Merlot 2008
        Merlot from Sonoma County, California
        • WE90
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $15.99
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        15 99
        15 99
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      • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2008 Front Label
        Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2008
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WE92
        4.3 5 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $27.99
        Try the 2016 Vintage 28 99
        27 99
        27 99
        Save $0.00 (0%)
      • Shafer Napa Valley Merlot 2008 Front Label
        Shafer Napa Valley Merlot 2008
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WE93
        • WS92
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $51.99
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        51 99
        51 99
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      • Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Merlot 2008 Front Label
        Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Merlot 2008
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WE91
        4.6 5 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $49.99
        Try the 2015 Vintage 67 99
        49 99
        49 99
        Save $0.00 (0%)
      • Pahlmeyer Merlot 2008 Front Label
        Pahlmeyer Merlot 2008
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • RP91
        • WS91
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $89.97
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        89 97
        89 97
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      • Provenance Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 2008 Front Label
        Provenance Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 2008
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WS88
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $17.99
        Try the 2016 Vintage 33 99
        35
        17 99
        Save $17.01 (49%)
      • Trentadue Block 500 Merlot 2008 Front Label
        Trentadue Block 500 Merlot 2008
        Merlot from Carneros, California
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $13.97
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          18 99
          13 97
          Save $5.02 (26%)
        • Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2008 Front Label
          Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2008
          Merlot from Sonoma County, California
          • WE90
          • W&S90
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $12.99
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          12 99
          12 99
          Save $0.00 (0%)
        • Rutherford Ranch Merlot 2008 Front Label
          Rutherford Ranch Merlot 2008
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $15.99
            Try the 2017 Vintage 19 99
            18
            15 99
            Save $2.01 (11%)
          • Oberon Merlot 2008 Front Label
            Oberon Merlot 2008
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • WS88
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $18.39
            Try the 2017 Vintage 21 99
            22 99
            18 39
            Save $4.60 (20%)
          • Sebastiani Sonoma County Merlot 2008 Front Label
            Sebastiani Sonoma County Merlot 2008
            Merlot from Sonoma County, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $18.99
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              18 99
              18 99
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            • Kenwood Sonoma County Merlot 2008 Front Label
              Kenwood Sonoma County Merlot 2008
              Merlot from Sonoma County, California
              • WS88
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $7.99
              Try the 2016 Vintage 27 99
              14
              7 99
              Save $6.01 (43%)
            • Whitehall Lane Merlot 2008 Front Label
              Whitehall Lane Merlot 2008
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              • WE90
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $29.99
              Try the 2016 Vintage 27 99
              29 99
              29 99
              Save $0.00 (0%)
            • Cupcake Vineyards Merlot 2008 Front Label
              Cupcake Vineyards Merlot 2008
              Merlot from Central Coast, California
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $12.99
                Try the 2017 Vintage 11 99
                12 99
                12 99
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              • Noble Vines 181 Lodi Merlot 2008 Front Label
                Noble Vines 181 Lodi Merlot 2008
                Merlot from California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $13.99
                  Try the 2017 Vintage 11 99
                  13 99
                  13 99
                  Save $0.00 (0%)
                • Clos Du Val Merlot 2008 Front Label
                  Clos Du Val Merlot 2008
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                  • WE90
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $29.99
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                  29 99
                  29 99
                  Save $0.00 (0%)
                • Ghost Pines Merlot 2008 Front Label
                  Ghost Pines Merlot 2008
                  Merlot from California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $19.79
                    Try the 2016 Vintage 18 99
                    19 79
                    19 79
                    Save $0.00 (0%)
                  • Avalon Napa Merlot 2008 Front Label
                    Avalon Napa Merlot 2008
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $17.29
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                      17 28
                      17 28
                      Save $0.00 (0%)
                    • Lyeth L de Lyeth Merlot 2008 Front Label
                      Lyeth L de Lyeth Merlot 2008
                      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $9.99
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                        11 99
                        9 99
                        Save $2.00 (17%)
                      • Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot 2008 Front Label
                        Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot 2008
                        Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                        • WS88
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $23.99
                        Try the 2018 Vintage 17 99
                        23 99
                        23 99
                        Save $0.00 (0%)
                      • Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Merlot 2008 Front Label
                        Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Merlot 2008
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        • WE94
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $22.99
                        Try the 2017 Vintage 37 99
                        30
                        22 99
                        Save $7.01 (23%)
                      • Kenwood Jack London Vineyard Merlot 2008 Front Label
                        Kenwood Jack London Vineyard Merlot 2008
                        Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $22.99
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                          22 99
                          22 99
                          Save $0.00 (0%)
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