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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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20 Items
  • Markham Merlot 2018  Front Label
    Markham Merlot 2018
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WS91
    4.2 112 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $22.99
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    29
    22 99
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  • Silverado Mt. George Merlot 2018  Front Label
    Silverado Mt. George Merlot 2018
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • TP93
    • WW92
    4.1 11 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $47.99
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    47 99
    47 99
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  • Keenan Napa Valley Merlot 2018  Front Label
    Keenan Napa Valley Merlot 2018
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW90
    0.0 0 Ratings
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    Currently Unavailable $51.99
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    51 99
    51 99
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  • Mt. Brave Merlot 2018  Front Label
    Mt. Brave Merlot 2018
    Merlot from Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley, California
    • JS95
    • JD95
    • RP94
    • WS93
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $99.99
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    99 99
    99 99
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  • Frank Family Vineyards Merlot 2018  Front Label
    Frank Family Vineyards Merlot 2018
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      0.0 0 Ratings
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      Currently Unavailable $44.99
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      44 99
      44 99
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    • Lava Cap Merlot 2018  Front Label
      Lava Cap Merlot 2018
      Merlot from El Dorado, Sierra Foothills, California
        4.0 17 Ratings
        Regular price
        Currently Unavailable $24.99
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        24 99
        24 99
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      • Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Merlot 2018  Front Label
        Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Merlot 2018
        Merlot from California
          4.0 11 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $15.99
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          15 99
          15 99
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        • Gainey Merlot 2018  Front Label
          Gainey Merlot 2018
          Merlot from Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
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            Currently Unavailable $23.99
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            23 99
            23 99
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          • Acre Merlot 2018  Front Label
            Acre Merlot 2018
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
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              Currently Unavailable $39.99
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              39 99
              39 99
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            • Guenoc California Merlot 2018  Front Label
              Guenoc California Merlot 2018
              Merlot from California
                0.0 0 Ratings
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                Currently Unavailable $10.99
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                10 99
                10 99
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              • Trentadue La Storia Merlot 2018  Front Label
                Trentadue La Storia Merlot 2018
                Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
                  4.0 22 Ratings
                  Regular price
                  Currently Unavailable $28.99
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                  34
                  28 99
                  Save $5.01 (15%)
                • Kenwood North Coast Merlot 2018 Front Label
                  Kenwood North Coast Merlot 2018
                  Merlot from North Coast, California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
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                    Currently Unavailable $13.99
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                    13 99
                    13 99
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                  • Snowden Lost Vineyard Merlot 2018  Front Label
                    Snowden Lost Vineyard Merlot 2018
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    • V92
                    4.0 8 Ratings
                    Regular price
                    Currently Unavailable $49.99
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                    49 99
                    49 99
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                  • Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Merlot 2018  Front Label
                    Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Merlot 2018
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
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                      Currently Unavailable $43.99
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                      43 99
                      43 99
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                    • Paradigm Merlot 2018  Front Label
                      Paradigm Merlot 2018
                      Merlot from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
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                        Currently Unavailable $78.99
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                        78 99
                        78 99
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                      • Peju Winery Legacy Collection Merlot 2018  Front Label
                        Peju Winery Legacy Collection Merlot 2018
                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                          0.0 0 Ratings
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                          Currently Unavailable $55.99
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                          55 99
                          55 99
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                        • Miner Family Stagecoach Vineyard Merlot 2018  Front Label
                          Miner Family Stagecoach Vineyard Merlot 2018
                          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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                          • Rodney Strong Sonoma Merlot 2018  Front Label
                            Rodney Strong Sonoma Merlot 2018
                            Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                              4.1 8 Ratings
                              Regular price
                              Currently Unavailable $16.99
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                              23
                              16 99
                              Save $6.01 (26%)
                            • Ferrari-Carano Merlot 2018  Front Label
                              Ferrari-Carano Merlot 2018
                              Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                                4.0 11 Ratings
                                Regular price
                                Currently Unavailable $25.99
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                                25 99
                                25 99
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                              • Ghost Pines Merlot 2018  Front Label
                                Ghost Pines Merlot 2018
                                Merlot from North Coast, California
                                  0.0 0 Ratings
                                  Regular price
                                  Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                                  18 99
                                  18 99
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