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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. Supery Rutherford Merlot 2012 Front Label
    St. Supery Rutherford Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
    • WW92
    • WS90
    • WE90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $47.99
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    47 99
    47 99
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  • Tortoise Creek Merlot 2012 Front Bottle Shot
    Tortoise Creek Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Clarksburg, Yolo County, California
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Regular price
      Currently Unavailable $14.99
      Try the 2019 Vintage 16 99
      14 99
      14 99
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    • Chateau Souverain Merlot 2012 Front Label
      Chateau Souverain Merlot 2012
      Merlot from North Coast, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Regular price
        Currently Unavailable $16.99
        Try the 2019 Vintage 11 99
        16 99
        16 99
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      • Two Vines California Merlot 2012 Front Label
        Two Vines California Merlot 2012
        Merlot from California
          4.2 8 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $7.99
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          10
          7 99
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        • Lockwood Merlot 2012 Front Label
          Lockwood Merlot 2012
          Merlot from Monterey, Central Coast, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Regular price
            Currently Unavailable $16.99
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            16 99
            16 99
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          • Wine Spots Napa Valley Merlot 2012 Front Label
            Wine Spots Napa Valley Merlot 2012
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • WW90
            4.0 16 Ratings
            Regular price
            Currently Unavailable $49.99
            Try the 2015 Vintage 33 99
            49 99
            49 99
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          • Cannonball Merlot 2012 Front Label
            Cannonball Merlot 2012
            Merlot from Sonoma County, California
            • TP90
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Regular price
            Currently Unavailable $16.99
            Try the 2019 Vintage 15 99
            16 99
            16 99
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          • St. Francis Merlot 2012 Front Label
            St. Francis Merlot 2012
            Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Regular price
              Currently Unavailable $21.99
              Try the 2018 Vintage 18 99
              21 99
              21 99
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            • Raymond Reserve Selection Merlot 2012 Front Label
              Raymond Reserve Selection Merlot 2012
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              • WW91
              3.7 5 Ratings
              Regular price
              Currently Unavailable $31.99
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              31 99
              31 99
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            • Clos Du Val Merlot 2012 Front Label
              Clos Du Val Merlot 2012
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              • JS91
              • WE90
              4.3 13 Ratings
              Regular price
              Currently Unavailable $25.99
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              35
              25 99
              Save $9.01 (26%)
            • Clos du Bois Alexander Valley Reserve Merlot 2012 Front Label
              Clos du Bois Alexander Valley Reserve Merlot 2012
              Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Regular price
                Currently Unavailable $26.99
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                26 99
                26 99
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              • The Prisoner Wine Company Thorn Merlot 2012 Front Label
                The Prisoner Wine Company Thorn Merlot 2012
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • WW91
                4.2 11 Ratings
                Regular price
                Currently Unavailable $42.99
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                42 99
                42 99
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              • Emmolo Merlot 2012 Front Label
                Emmolo Merlot 2012
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • WW95
                • RP92
                • TP92
                • JS91
                4.4 17 Ratings
                Regular price
                Currently Unavailable $59.99
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                59 99
                59 99
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              • Annabella Merlot 2012 Front Label
                Annabella Merlot 2012
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Regular price
                  Currently Unavailable $18.99
                  Try the 2020 Vintage 21 99
                  18 99
                  18 99
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                • Estancia Merlot 2012 Front Label
                  Estancia Merlot 2012
                  Merlot from Central Coast, California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Regular price
                    Currently Unavailable $12.99
                    Try the 2018 Vintage 12 99
                    16
                    12 99
                    Save $3.01 (19%)
                  • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2012 Front Label
                    Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2012
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    • WW91
                    • WE91
                    • TP91
                    • JS90
                    • WS90
                    4.2 25 Ratings
                    Regular price
                    Currently Unavailable $55.99
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                    55 99
                    55 99
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                  • Shafer Napa Valley Merlot 2012  Front Label
                    Shafer Napa Valley Merlot 2012
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    • RP95
                    • WS92
                    4.5 11 Ratings
                    Regular price
                    Currently Unavailable $59.99
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                    59 99
                    59 99
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                  • Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Merlot 2012 Front Label
                    Twomey Merlot 2012
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    • WE92
                    • WW90
                    4.2 29 Ratings
                    Regular price
                    Currently Unavailable $57.99
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                    60
                    57 99
                    Save $2.01 (3%)
                  • Brass Tacks Merlot 2012 Front Label
                    Brass Tacks Merlot 2012
                    Merlot from Central Coast, California
                    • WE89
                    • WW89
                    3.8 13 Ratings
                    Regular price
                    Currently Unavailable $19.99
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                    19 99
                    19 99
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                  • Taft Street Alexander Valley Merlot 2012 Front Label
                    Taft Street Alexander Valley Merlot 2012
                    Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Regular price
                      Currently Unavailable $15.99
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                      20
                      15 99
                      Save $4.01 (20%)
                    • Miner Family Stagecoach Vineyard Merlot 2012 Front Label
                      Miner Family Stagecoach Vineyard Merlot 2012
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Regular price
                        Currently Unavailable $49.99
                        Try the 2018 Vintage 59 99
                        49 99
                        49 99
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                      • Burgess Merlot 2012 Front Label
                        Burgess Merlot 2012
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                          3.9 6 Ratings
                          Regular price
                          Currently Unavailable $26.99
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                          36
                          26 99
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                        • Marilyn Napa Valley Merlot 2012 Front Label
                          Marilyn Napa Valley Merlot 2012
                          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Regular price
                            Currently Unavailable $26.99
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                            30
                            26 99
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                          • BV Century Cellars Merlot 2012 Front Label
                            BV Century Cellars Merlot 2012
                            Merlot from California
                              4.0 7 Ratings
                              Regular price
                              Currently Unavailable $8.99
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                              8 99
                              8 99
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                            • Longboard DaKine Vineyard Merlot 2012 Front Label
                              Longboard DaKine Vineyard Merlot 2012
                              Merlot from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Regular price
                                Currently Unavailable $29.99
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                                29 99
                                29 99
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