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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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54 Items
  • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2017  Front Label
    Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2017
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW93
    • JS92
    4.8 37 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $49.99
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    56
    49 99
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  • Wente Sandstone Merlot 2017  Front Label
    Wente Sandstone Merlot 2017
    Merlot from Livermore Valley, Central Coast, California
      4.6 19 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $13.99
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      20
      13 99
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    • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 2017  Front Label
      Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 2017
      Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
      • WW93
      4.7 5 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $99.99
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      99 99
      99 99
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    • Bogle Merlot 2017  Front Label
      Bogle Merlot 2017
      Merlot from California
        4.0 88 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $9.99
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        9 99
        9 99
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      • Oberon Merlot 2017 Front Label
        Oberon Merlot 2017
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WW89
        4.1 95 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $21.99
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        23
        21 99
        Save $1.01 (4%)
      • Spellbound Merlot 2017  Front Label
        Spellbound Merlot 2017
        Merlot from California
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $15.99
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          15 99
          15 99
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        • Rombauer Merlot 2017  Front Label
          Rombauer Merlot 2017
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $47.99
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            47 99
            47 99
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          • Parcel 41 Merlot 2017  Front Label
            Parcel 41 Merlot 2017
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              5.0 6 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $19.99
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              19 99
              19 99
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            • Frog's Leap Merlot 2017  Front Label
              Frog's Leap Merlot 2017
              Merlot from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
                4.2 12 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $41.99
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                41 99
                41 99
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              • Nickel & Nickel Bear Flat Merlot 2017  Front Label
                Nickel & Nickel Bear Flat Merlot 2017
                Merlot from Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $64.99
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                  64 99
                  64 99
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                • Trentadue La Storia Merlot 2017  Front Label
                  Trentadue La Storia Merlot 2017
                  Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $27.99
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                    27 99
                    27 99
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                  • Toad Hollow Sonoma Merlot 2017 Front Label
                    Toad Hollow Sonoma Merlot 2017
                    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $17.99
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                      17 99
                      17 99
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                    • GEN5 Merlot 2017  Front Label
                      GEN5 Merlot 2017
                      Merlot from Clarksburg, Yolo County, California
                        4.5 14 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $12.99
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                        12 99
                        12 99
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                      • St. Francis Merlot 2017  Front Label
                        St. Francis Merlot 2017
                        Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                          4.9 27 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $21.99
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                          21 99
                          21 99
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                        • Benziger Merlot 2017  Front Label
                          Benziger Merlot 2017
                          Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $17.99
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                            19
                            17 99
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                          • Ca'Momi Merlot 2017  Front Label
                            Ca'Momi Merlot 2017
                            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                              4.2 19 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $17.99
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                              20
                              17 99
                              Save $2.01 (10%)
                            • Goldschmidt Vineyard Chelsea Merlot 2017  Front Label
                              Goldschmidt Vineyard Chelsea Merlot 2017
                              Merlot from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $23.99
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                                23 99
                                23 99
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                              • Cupcake Vineyards Merlot 2017  Front Label
                                Cupcake Vineyards Merlot 2017
                                Merlot from Central Coast, California
                                  3.8 8 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $11.99
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                                  11 99
                                  11 99
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                                • Folie a Deux Merlot 2017  Front Label
                                  Folie a Deux Merlot 2017
                                  Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
                                    0.0 0 Ratings
                                    Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                                    18 99
                                    18 99
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                                  • Noble Vines 181 Lodi Merlot 2017  Front Label
                                    Noble Vines 181 Lodi Merlot 2017
                                    Merlot from Lodi, California
                                      4.0 6 Ratings
                                      Currently Unavailable $11.99
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                                      11 99
                                      11 99
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                                    • Gnarly Head Merlot 2017  Front Label
                                      Gnarly Head Merlot 2017
                                      Merlot from California
                                        4.4 10 Ratings
                                        Currently Unavailable $11.99
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                                        11 99
                                        11 99
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                                      • Little Black Dress Merlot 2017  Front Label
                                        Little Black Dress Merlot 2017
                                        Merlot from California
                                          4.2 13 Ratings
                                          Currently Unavailable $10.99
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                                          10 99
                                          10 99
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                                        • Trefethen Merlot 2017  Front Label
                                          Trefethen Merlot 2017
                                          Merlot from Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California
                                            4.7 13 Ratings
                                            Currently Unavailable $39.99
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                                            45
                                            39 99
                                            Save $5.01 (11%)
                                          • Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Merlot 2017  Front Label
                                            Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Merlot 2017
                                            Merlot from Santa Margarita Ranch, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
                                            • WE90
                                            4.0 13 Ratings
                                            Currently Unavailable $20.99
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                                            20 99
                                            20 99
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                                          • Dante Merlot 2017  Front Label
                                            Dante Merlot 2017
                                            Merlot from California
                                              0.0 0 Ratings
                                              Currently Unavailable $12.99
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                                              12 99
                                              12 99
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