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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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  • Stags' Leap Winery Merlot 2011 Front Label
    Stags' Leap Winery Merlot 2011
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $37.99
      Try the 2016 Vintage 32 99
      37 99
      37 99
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    • Clos Du Val Merlot 2011 Front Label
      Clos Du Val Merlot 2011
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      • WE90
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $28.99
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      35
      28 99
      Save $6.01 (17%)
    • Ridge Estate Merlot 2011 Front Label
      Ridge Estate Merlot 2011
      Merlot from Central Coast, California
      • WE91
      • W&S90
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $49.99
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      49 99
      49 99
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    • Markham Merlot 2011 Front Label
      Markham Merlot 2011
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $23.99
        Try the 2017 Vintage 21 99
        26 99
        23 99
        Save $3.00 (11%)
      • Miner Family Stagecoach Vineyard Merlot 2011 Front Label
        Miner Family Stagecoach Vineyard Merlot 2011
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $38.98
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          46
          38 98
          Save $7.02 (15%)
        • Raymond R Collection Merlot 2011 Front Label
          Raymond R Collection Merlot 2011
          Merlot from California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $11.99
            Try the 2018 Vintage 11 99
            15
            11 99
            Save $3.01 (20%)
          • Cakebread Merlot 2011 Front Label
            Cakebread Merlot 2011
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $64.99
              Try the 2016 Vintage 74 99
              64 99
              64 99
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            • Scheid Vineyards Merlot 2011 Front Label
              Scheid Vineyards Merlot 2011
              Merlot from Central Coast, California
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $33.99
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                33 99
                33 99
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              • Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Prologue Merlot 2011 Front Label
                Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Prologue Merlot 2011
                Merlot from Central Coast, California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $20.99
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                  20 99
                  20 99
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                • Toasted Head Merlot 2011 Front Label
                  Toasted Head Merlot 2011
                  Merlot from California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $12.99
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                    14
                    12 99
                    Save $1.01 (7%)
                  • St. Francis Merlot 2011 Front Label
                    St. Francis Merlot 2011
                    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $16.99
                      Try the 2017 Vintage 21 99
                      16 99
                      16 99
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                    • Five Rivers Merlot 2011 Front Label
                      Five Rivers Merlot 2011
                      Merlot from Monterey, Central Coast, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $12.98
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                        18
                        12 98
                        Save $5.02 (28%)
                      • Maggio Family Vineyards Merlot 2011 Front Label
                        Maggio Family Vineyards Merlot 2011
                        Merlot from California
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $11.99
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                          11 99
                          11 99
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                        • Keenan Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2011 Front Label
                          Keenan Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2011
                          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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                          • Trinchero Vista Montone Vineyard Daybreak Block Merlot 2011 Front Label
                            Trinchero Vista Montone Vineyard Daybreak Block Merlot 2011
                            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $34.98
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                              40
                              34 98
                              Save $5.02 (13%)
                            • Frog's Leap Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2011 Front Label
                              Frog's Leap Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2011
                              Merlot from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
                              • W&S92
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                              21
                              18 99
                              Save $2.01 (10%)
                            • Tortoise Creek Merlot 2011 Front Label
                              Tortoise Creek Merlot 2011
                              Merlot from California
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $11.99
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                                11 99
                                11 99
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                              • BV Century Cellars Merlot 2011 Front Label
                                BV Century Cellars Merlot 2011
                                Merlot from California
                                  0.0 0 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $8.99
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                                  8 99
                                  8 99
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                                • Baron Herzog Merlot (OU Kosher) 2011 Front Label
                                  Baron Herzog Merlot (OU Kosher) 2011
                                  Merlot from Clarksburg, Yolo County, California
                                    0.0 0 Ratings
                                    Currently Unavailable $10.98
                                    Try the 2017 Vintage 12 99
                                    10 98
                                    10 98
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                                  • Tin Roof Merlot 2011 Front Label
                                    Tin Roof Merlot 2011
                                    Merlot from California
                                      0.0 0 Ratings
                                      Currently Unavailable $11.99
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                                      11 99
                                      11 99
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                                    • Bogle Merlot 2011 Front Label
                                      Bogle Merlot 2011
                                      Merlot from California
                                        0.0 0 Ratings
                                        Currently Unavailable $10.99
                                        Try the 2017 Vintage 9 99
                                        13 50
                                        10 99
                                        Save $2.51 (19%)
                                      • Jason-Stephens Estate Merlot 2011 Front Label
                                        Jason-Stephens Estate Merlot 2011
                                        Merlot from Santa Clara Valley, San Francisco Bay, Central Coast, California
                                          0.0 0 Ratings
                                          Currently Unavailable $14.98
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                                          14 98
                                          14 98
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                                        • Avalon Napa Merlot 2011 Front Label
                                          Avalon Napa Merlot 2011
                                          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                            0.0 0 Ratings
                                            Currently Unavailable $13.99
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                                            13 99
                                            13 99
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                                          • Swanson Napa Valley Merlot 2011 Front Label
                                            Swanson Napa Valley Merlot 2011
                                            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                            • WW91
                                            3.7 7 Ratings
                                            Currently Unavailable $27.99
                                            Try the 2017 Vintage 29 99
                                            38
                                            27 99
                                            Save $10.01 (26%)
                                          • Kenwood Sonoma County Merlot 2011 Front Label
                                            Kenwood Sonoma County Merlot 2011
                                            Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                                              0.0 0 Ratings
                                              Currently Unavailable $13.99
                                              Try the 2016 Vintage 12 99
                                              13 99
                                              13 99
                                              Save $0.00 (0%)
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