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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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  • Pahlmeyer Malbec 2013  Front Label
    Pahlmeyer Malbec 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $149.97
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      149 97
      149 97
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    • World's End Little Sister Reserve Merlot 2013 Front Label
      World's End Little Sister Reserve Merlot 2013
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      • JS93
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $52.99
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      52 99
      52 99
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    • Miner Family Stagecoach Vineyard Merlot 2013 Front Label
      Miner Family Stagecoach Vineyard Merlot 2013
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $46.99
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        46 99
        46 99
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      • Century Cellars Merlot 2013 Front Label
        Century Cellars Merlot 2013
        Merlot from California
          3.7 23 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $8.99
          Try the 2015 Vintage 8 99
          8 99
          8 99
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        • Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Merlot 2013 Front Label
          Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Merlot 2013
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            4.1 18 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $34.99
            Try the 2017 Vintage 37 99
            34 99
            34 99
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          • Chappellet Merlot 2013 Front Label
            Chappellet Merlot 2013
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $45.99
              Try the 2018 Vintage 51 99
              45 99
              45 99
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            • Lockwood Merlot 2013 Front Label
              Lockwood Merlot 2013
              Merlot from Monterey, Central Coast, California
              • W&S89
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $14.99
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              14 99
              14 99
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            • Luna Vineyards Merlot 2013 Front Label
              Luna Vineyards Merlot 2013
              Merlot from North Coast, California
              • WW89
              3.9 6 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $26.99
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              26 99
              26 99
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            • Noble Tree Wickersham Ranch Merlot 2013 Front Label
              Noble Tree Wickersham Ranch Merlot 2013
              Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                3.7 12 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $19.99
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                19 99
                19 99
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              • Schug Merlot 2013 Front Label
                Schug Merlot 2013
                Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
                • W&S91
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $29.99
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                29 99
                29 99
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              • Cakebread Merlot 2013 Front Label
                Cakebread Merlot 2013
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • WE90
                5.0 7 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $69.99
                Try the 2017 Vintage 66 99
                69 99
                69 99
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              • Frog's Leap Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2013 Front Label
                Frog's Leap Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2013
                Merlot from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
                • WW92
                • WE90
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $69.99
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                76
                69 99
                Save $6.01 (8%)
              • Whitehall Lane Merlot 2013 Front Label
                Whitehall Lane Merlot 2013
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • WW90
                • WE90
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $31.99
                Try the 2017 Vintage 33 99
                31 99
                31 99
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              • Clos Du Val Merlot 2013 Front Label
                Clos Du Val Merlot 2013
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $25.99
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                  35
                  25 99
                  Save $9.01 (26%)
                • Cycles Gladiator Merlot 2013 Front Label
                  Cycles Gladiator Merlot 2013
                  Merlot from Central Coast, California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $11.99
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                    11 99
                    11 99
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                  • Hendry Merlot 2013 Front Label
                    Hendry Merlot 2013
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $37.99
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                      37 99
                      37 99
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                    • Wine Spots Napa Valley Merlot 2013 Front Label
                      Wine Spots Napa Valley Merlot 2013
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                        4.7 7 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $49.99
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                        49 99
                        49 99
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                      • Beringer Napa Valley Merlot 2013 Front Label
                        Beringer Napa Valley Merlot 2013
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $25.99
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                          25 99
                          25 99
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                        • Parcel 41 Merlot 2013 Front Label
                          Parcel 41 Merlot 2013
                          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $20.99
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                            20 99
                            20 99
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                          • Buena Vista Sonoma Merlot 2013 Front Label
                            Buena Vista Sonoma Merlot 2013
                            Merlot from Carneros, California
                            • WW89
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $26.99
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                            26 99
                            26 99
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                          • The Prisoner Wine Company Thorn Merlot 2013 Front Label
                            The Prisoner Wine Company Thorn Merlot 2013
                            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                            • WS91
                            4.5 36 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $41.99
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                            45
                            41 99
                            Save $3.01 (7%)
                          • Joseph Carr Merlot 2013 Front Label
                            Joseph Carr Merlot 2013
                            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $20.99
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                              24
                              20 99
                              Save $3.01 (13%)
                            • Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Merlot 2013 Front Label
                              Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Merlot 2013
                              Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                                4.4 13 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $26.99
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                                28
                                26 99
                                Save $1.01 (4%)
                              • Uppercut Merlot 2013 Front Label
                                Uppercut Merlot 2013
                                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                  0.0 0 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $25.99
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                                  25 99
                                  25 99
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                                • Clos du Bois Alexander Valley Reserve Merlot 2013 Front Label
                                  Clos du Bois Alexander Valley Reserve Merlot 2013
                                  Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
                                    0.0 0 Ratings
                                    Currently Unavailable $23.99
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                                    23 99
                                    23 99
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