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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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  • Pride Mountain Vineyards Vintner Select Merlot 2009 Front Label
    Pride Mountain Vineyards Vintner Select Merlot 2009
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
    • RP95
    • WS92
    • WE90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $139.97
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    139 97
    139 97
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  • Summercloud Merlot 2009 Front Label
    Summercloud Merlot 2009
    Merlot from Mendocino, California
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Regular price
      Currently Unavailable $32.99
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      32 99
      32 99
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    • Simi Merlot 2009 Front Label
      Simi Merlot 2009
      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
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        Currently Unavailable $24.99
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        24 99
        24 99
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      • Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Merlot 2009 Front Label
        Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Merlot 2009
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WS94
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Regular price
        Currently Unavailable $55.99
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        55 99
        55 99
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      • Brass Tacks Merlot 2009 Front Label
        Brass Tacks Merlot 2009
        Merlot from Central Coast, California
          4.3 9 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $19.99
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          19 99
          19 99
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        • Pahlmeyer Merlot 2009 Front Label
          Pahlmeyer Merlot 2009
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          • WS94
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $85.00
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          85
          85
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        • Mt. Brave Merlot 2009 Front Label
          Mt. Brave Merlot 2009
          Merlot from Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley, California
          • WE93
          • RP92
          • W&S92
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $74.99
          Try the 2018 Vintage 99 99
          74 99
          74 99
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        • Rutherford Ranch Merlot 2009 Front Label
          Rutherford Ranch Merlot 2009
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Regular price
            Currently Unavailable $17.99
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            17 99
            17 99
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          • Tangley Oaks Merlot 2009 Front Label
            Tangley Oaks Merlot 2009
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • WS88
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Regular price
            Currently Unavailable $15.99
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            15 99
            15 99
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          • Parducci Small Lot Blend Merlot 2009 Front Label
            Parducci Small Lot Blend Merlot 2009
            Merlot from North Coast, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Regular price
              Currently Unavailable $10.99
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              10 99
              10 99
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            • Buccella Merlot 2009 Front Label
              Buccella Merlot 2009
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Regular price
                Currently Unavailable $119.97
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                119 97
                119 97
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              • Jekel Merlot 2009 Front Label
                Jekel Merlot 2009
                Merlot from California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Regular price
                  Currently Unavailable $15.00
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                  15
                  15
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                • Folie a Deux Merlot 2009 Front Label
                  Folie a Deux Merlot 2009
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Regular price
                    Currently Unavailable $17.99
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                    17 99
                    17 99
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                  • Mirassou Merlot 2009 Front Label
                    Mirassou Merlot 2009
                    Merlot from California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Regular price
                      Currently Unavailable $10.99
                      Try the 2019 Vintage 10 99
                      10 99
                      10 99
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                    • Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 2009 Front Label
                      Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot 2009
                      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                      • WE92
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Regular price
                      Currently Unavailable $25.99
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                      25 99
                      25 99
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                    • Twomey Merlot 2009 Front Label
                      Twomey Merlot 2009
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        4.3 7 Ratings
                        Regular price
                        Currently Unavailable $54.99
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                        54 99
                        54 99
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                      • Franciscan Estate Merlot 2009 Front Label
                        Franciscan Estate Merlot 2009
                        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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                        • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2009 Front Label
                          Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2009
                          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                          • WE91
                          3.6 5 Ratings
                          Regular price
                          Currently Unavailable $49.99
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                          49 99
                          49 99
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                        • Frog's Leap Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 2009 Front Label
                          Frog's Leap Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 2009
                          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                          • W&S90
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Regular price
                          Currently Unavailable $152.00
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                          152
                          152
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                        • Valley Legend Napa Valley Merlot 2009 Front Label
                          Valley Legend Napa Valley Merlot 2009
                          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Regular price
                            Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                            25
                            14 99
                            Save $10.01 (40%)
                          • Leese-Fitch Merlot 2009 Front Label
                            Leese-Fitch Merlot 2009
                            Merlot from California
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Regular price
                              Currently Unavailable $13.99
                              Try the 2018 Vintage 18 99
                              13 99
                              13 99
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                            • Veedercrest Vintners Select Merlot 2009 Front Label
                              Veedercrest Vintners Select Merlot 2009
                              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Regular price
                                Currently Unavailable $27.98
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                                30
                                27 98
                                Save $2.02 (7%)
                              • World's End Little Sister Reserve Merlot 2009 Front Label
                                World's End Little Sister Reserve Merlot 2009
                                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                • WS92
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Regular price
                                Currently Unavailable $34.99
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                                45
                                34 99
                                Save $10.01 (22%)
                              • Napa Cellars Merlot 2009 Front Label
                                Napa Cellars Merlot 2009
                                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                  0.0 0 Ratings
                                  Regular price
                                  Currently Unavailable $26.99
                                  Try the 2019 Vintage 24 99
                                  26 99
                                  26 99
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                                • Oberon Merlot 2009 Front Label
                                  Oberon Merlot 2009
                                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                  • RP89
                                  0.0 0 Ratings
                                  Regular price
                                  Currently Unavailable $18.99
                                  Try the 2020 Vintage 24 99
                                  22
                                  18 99
                                  Save $3.01 (14%)
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