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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.

Coming Soon: Regions Map. This is not a final layout.
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        9 Items
        • La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot 2017  Front Label
          La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot 2017
          Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
          • RP94
          4.1 5 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $89.99
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          100
          89 99
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        • Century Cellars Merlot 2017  Front Label
          Century Cellars Merlot 2017
          Merlot from California
            3.5 13 Ratings
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            Currently Unavailable $8.99
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            8 99
            8 99
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          • Long Meadow Ranch Merlot 2017  Front Label
            Long Meadow Ranch Merlot 2017
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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            • Donati Family Vineyards Merlot 2017 Front Label
              Donati Family Vineyards Merlot 2017
              Merlot from Paicines, Central Coast, California
              • WE89
              0.0 0 Ratings
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              Currently Unavailable $21.99
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              21 99
              21 99
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            • Sterling Napa Merlot 2017  Front Label
              Sterling Napa Merlot 2017
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              • JS92
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              22 99
              22 99
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            • GEN5 Merlot 2017  Front Label
              GEN5 Merlot 2017
              Merlot from Clarksburg, Yolo County, California
                3.8 24 Ratings
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                Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                14 99
                14 99
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              • Merryvale Merlot 2017  Front Label
                Merryvale Merlot 2017
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • WS91
                • WE90
                0.0 0 Ratings
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                Currently Unavailable $49.99
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                49 99
                49 99
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              • Monticello Estate Merlot 2017  Front Label
                Monticello Estate Merlot 2017
                Merlot from Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California
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                  Currently Unavailable $40.99
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                  40 99
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                • Hestan Vineyards Stephanie Merlot 2017  Front Label
                  Hestan Vineyards Stephanie Merlot 2017
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
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                    Currently Unavailable $59.99
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                    59 99
                    59 99
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