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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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15 Items
  • Decoy Merlot 2018  Front Label
    Decoy Merlot 2018
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
      4.3 72 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $20.99
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      20 99
      20 99
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    • Josh Cellars Merlot 2018  Front Label
      Josh Cellars Merlot 2018
      Merlot from California
        4.0 30 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $14.99
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        14 99
        14 99
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      • Emmolo Merlot 2018  Front Label
        Emmolo Merlot 2018
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WW92
        4.7 12 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $53.99
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        60
        53 99
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      • Camp Merlot 2018  Front Label
        Camp Merlot 2018
        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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        • Menage a Trois Lavish Merlot 2018  Front Label
          Menage a Trois Lavish Merlot 2018
          Merlot from California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $10.99
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            12
            10 99
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          • Raymond R Collection Merlot 2018  Front Label
            Raymond R Collection Merlot 2018
            Merlot from California
              4.5 12 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $11.99
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              11 99
              11 99
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            • Robert Mondavi Private Selection Rum Barrel Aged Merlot 2018  Front Label
              Robert Mondavi Private Selection Rum Barrel Aged Merlot 2018
              Merlot from Monterey, Central Coast, California
                4.3 5 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $13.99
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                13 99
                13 99
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              • McManis Family Vineyards Merlot 2018  Front Label
                McManis Family Vineyards Merlot 2018
                Merlot from California
                • WE88
                3.7 10 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $10.99
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                13
                10 99
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              • Textbook Merlot 2018 Front Label
                Textbook Merlot 2018
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • WE90
                4.2 6 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $25.99
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                27
                25 99
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              • Broadside Margarita Vineyard Merlot 2018  Front Label
                Broadside Margarita Vineyard Merlot 2018
                Merlot from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
                  4.2 6 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $17.99
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                  17 99
                  17 99
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                • Hahn Merlot 2018  Front Label
                  Hahn Merlot 2018
                  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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                  • Tortoise Creek The Revivalist Merlot 2018  Front Label
                    Tortoise Creek The Revivalist Merlot 2018
                    Merlot from Clarksburg, Yolo County, California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                      14 99
                      14 99
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                    • Clos Pegase Mitsuko's Vineyard Merlot 2018  Front Label
                      Clos Pegase Mitsuko's Vineyard Merlot 2018
                      Merlot from Carneros, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $27.99
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                        27 99
                        27 99
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                      • Ramsay Merlot 2018  Front Label
                        Ramsay Merlot 2018
                        Merlot from North Coast, California
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $17.99
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                          17 99
                          17 99
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                        • J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot 2018  Front Label
                          J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot 2018
                          Merlot from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $13.99
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                            15
                            13 99
                            Save $1.01 (7%)
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