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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
    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
      Currently Unavailable $32.99
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      32 99
      32 99
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    • Brass Tacks Merlot 2009 Front Label
      Brass Tacks Merlot 2009
      Merlot from Central Coast, California
        4.3 9 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $19.99
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        19 99
        19 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
        Currently Unavailable $55.99
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        55 99
        55 99
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      • Grgich Hills Estate Merlot 2009 Front Label
        Grgich Hills Estate Merlot 2009
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $41.99
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          50
          41 99
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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
          Currently Unavailable $74.99
          Try the 2016 Vintage 94 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
            Currently Unavailable $17.99
            Try the 2018 Vintage 25 99
            17 99
            17 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
              Currently Unavailable $10.99
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              10 99
              10 99
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            • Jekel Merlot 2009 Front Label
              Jekel Merlot 2009
              Merlot from California
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $15.00
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                15
                15
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              • Buccella Merlot 2009 Front Label
                Buccella Merlot 2009
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $119.97
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                  119 97
                  119 97
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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
                    Currently Unavailable $17.99
                    Try the 2017 Vintage 19 99
                    17 99
                    17 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
                    Currently Unavailable $22.99
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                    26
                    22 99
                    Save $3.01 (12%)
                  • Whitehall Lane Merlot 2009 Front Label
                    Whitehall Lane Merlot 2009
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    • WS91
                    4.5 6 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $31.99
                    Try the 2017 Vintage 34 99
                    31 99
                    31 99
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                  • Franciscan Estate Merlot 2009 Front Label
                    Franciscan Estate Merlot 2009
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      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
                      Currently Unavailable $49.99
                      Try the 2017 Vintage 52 99
                      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
                      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
                        Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                        25
                        14 99
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                      • Leese-Fitch Merlot 2009 Front Label
                        Leese-Fitch Merlot 2009
                        Merlot from California
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $13.99
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                          13 99
                          13 99
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                        • 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
                          Currently Unavailable $34.99
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                          45
                          34 99
                          Save $10.01 (22%)
                        • Frog's Leap Merlot 2009 Front Label
                          Frog's Leap Merlot 2009
                          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                          • W&S90
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $29.99
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                          34
                          29 99
                          Save $4.01 (12%)
                        • Veedercrest Vintners Select Merlot 2009 Front Label
                          Veedercrest Vintners Select Merlot 2009
                          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $27.98
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                            30
                            27 98
                            Save $2.02 (7%)
                          • Mirassou Merlot 2009 Front Label
                            Mirassou Merlot 2009
                            Merlot from California
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $10.99
                              Try the 2019 Vintage 11 99
                              10 99
                              10 99
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                            • Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2009 Front Label
                              Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2009
                              Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                              • WE88
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $23.99
                              Try the 2018 Vintage 36 99
                              30
                              23 99
                              Save $6.01 (20%)
                            • Oberon Merlot 2009 Front Label
                              Oberon Merlot 2009
                              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                              • RP89
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                              22
                              18 99
                              Save $3.01 (14%)
                            • ONEHOPE California Merlot 2009 Front Label
                              ONEHOPE California Merlot 2009
                              Merlot from California
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $15.99
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                                19
                                15 99
                                Save $3.01 (16%)
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