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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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26 Items
  • Emmolo Merlot 2018  Front Label
    Emmolo Merlot 2018
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW92
    4.6 35 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $54.99
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    60
    54 99
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  • Oberon Merlot 2018  Front Label
    Oberon Merlot 2018
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      4.4 66 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $21.99
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      23
      21 99
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    • Bogle Merlot 2018 Front Label
      Bogle Merlot 2018
      Merlot from California
      • WW89
      3.8 29 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $10.99
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      10 99
      10 99
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    • Decoy Merlot 2018  Front Label
      Decoy Merlot 2018
      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
      • WE90
      4.1 200 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $19.99
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      19 99
      19 99
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    • Robert Mondavi Napa Merlot 2018  Front Label
      Robert Mondavi Napa Merlot 2018
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $26.99
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        26 99
        26 99
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      • Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2018  Front Label
        Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2018
        Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
        • WE91
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $37.99
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        37 99
        37 99
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      • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2018  Front Label
        Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2018
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          4.8 6 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $29.99
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          29 99
          29 99
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        • Simi Merlot 2018  Front Label
          Simi Merlot 2018
          Merlot from Sonoma County, California
            4.5 8 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $21.99
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            21 99
            21 99
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          • Rombauer Merlot 2018  Front Label
            Rombauer Merlot 2018
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • WW91
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $55.99
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            55 99
            55 99
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          • Textbook Merlot 2018 Front Label
            Textbook Merlot 2018
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • JS91
            • WE90
            4.0 38 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $25.99
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            27
            25 99
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          • Swanson Napa Valley Merlot 2018  Front Label
            Swanson Napa Valley Merlot 2018
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $27.99
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              32
              27 99
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            • Hourglass Blueline Vineyard Merlot 2018  Front Label
              Hourglass Blueline Vineyard Merlot 2018
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              • JD95
              • RP93
              • V93
              • WS92
              • JS92
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $79.99
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              79 99
              79 99
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            • Parcel 41 Merlot 2018  Front Label
              Parcel 41 Merlot 2018
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $16.99
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                20
                16 99
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              • Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Merlot 2018  Front Label
                Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Merlot 2018
                Merlot from Santa Margarita Ranch, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $19.99
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                  19 99
                  19 99
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                • Napa Cellars Merlot 2018  Front Label
                  Napa Cellars Merlot 2018
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    4.2 12 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $23.99
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                    23 99
                    23 99
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                  • Sebastiani North Coast Merlot 2018  Front Label
                    Sebastiani North Coast 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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                    • Cannonball Merlot 2018  Front Label
                      Cannonball Merlot 2018
                      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                        14 99
                        14 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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                        • Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot 2018  Front Label
                          Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot 2018
                          Merlot from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                            18 99
                            18 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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                            • Tortoise Creek Merlot 2018  Front Label
                              Tortoise Creek Merlot 2018
                              Merlot from Clarksburg, Yolo County, California
                                3.7 8 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                                14 99
                                14 99
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                              • Annabella Merlot 2018  Front Label
                                Annabella Merlot 2018
                                Merlot from California
                                  0.0 0 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                                  22
                                  18 99
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                                • Parducci Small Lot Merlot 2018  Front Label
                                  Parducci Small Lot Merlot 2018
                                  Merlot from Mendocino, California
                                    0.0 0 Ratings
                                    Currently Unavailable $16.99
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                                    16 99
                                    16 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
                                    • WS91
                                    3.9 5 Ratings
                                    Currently Unavailable $27.99
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                                    27 99
                                    27 99
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                                  • Acre Merlot 2018  Front Label
                                    Acre Merlot 2018
                                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                      0.0 0 Ratings
                                      Currently Unavailable $41.99
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                                      41 99
                                      41 99
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