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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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  • Two Vines California Merlot 2014 Front Label
    Two Vines California Merlot 2014
    Merlot from California
      3.5 38 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $6.99
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      6 99
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    • Mayacamas Merlot 2014 Front Label
      Mayacamas Merlot 2014
      Merlot from Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley, California
      • V92
      4.1 7 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $74.99
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      74 99
      74 99
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    • Meeker Handprint Merlot 2014  Front Bottle Shot
      Meeker Handprint Merlot 2014
      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
        3.9 6 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $46.99
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        46 99
        46 99
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      • Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Merlot 2014 Front Label
        Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Merlot 2014
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • JS93
        4.3 47 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $33.99
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        33 99
        33 99
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      • Liberty School Merlot 2014  Front Label
        Liberty School Merlot 2014
        Merlot from Central Coast, California
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $16.99
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          16 99
          16 99
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        • Monticello Estate Merlot 2014 Front Label
          Monticello Estate Merlot 2014
          Merlot from Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $32.99
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            32 99
            32 99
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          • Schug Merlot 2014  Front Label
            Schug Merlot 2014
            Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
              4.2 5 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $45.99
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              45 99
              45 99
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            • Keenan Napa Valley Merlot 2014 Front Label
              Keenan Napa Valley Merlot 2014
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              • W&S90
              3.7 6 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $49.99
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              49 99
              49 99
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            • Ray's Station Merlot 2014 Front Label
              Ray's Station Merlot 2014
              Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $19.99
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                19 99
                19 99
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              • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2014 Front Label
                Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2014
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • WS92
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $135.97
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                135 97
                135 97
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              • Somerston Merlot 2014  Front Label
                Somerston Merlot 2014
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $99.99
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                  99 99
                  99 99
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                • Coho Michael Black Vineyard Merlot 2014 Front Label
                  Coho Michael Black Vineyard Merlot 2014
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $51.99
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                    51 99
                    51 99
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                  • entwine Merlot 2014 Front Label
                    entwine Merlot 2014
                    Merlot from California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $9.99
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                      9 99
                      9 99
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