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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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38 Items
  • J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot 2019  Front Label
    J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot 2019
    Merlot from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
    • TP92
    • D90
    4.0 21 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $16.99
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    16 99
    16 99
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  • Decoy Merlot 2019  Front Label
    Decoy Merlot 2019
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
      4.1 79 Ratings
      Regular price
      Currently Unavailable $27.99
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      27 99
      27 99
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    • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 2019  Front Label
      Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 2019
      Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
      • JS95
      • WW94
      0.0 0 Ratings
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      Currently Unavailable $109.99
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      109 99
      109 99
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    • Charles Krug Napa Valley Merlot 2019  Front Label
      Charles Krug Napa Valley Merlot 2019
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      • JS93
      • WW89
      4.0 10 Ratings
      Regular price
      Currently Unavailable $27.99
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      27 99
      27 99
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    • Alexander Valley Vineyards Merlot 2019  Front Label
      Alexander Valley Vineyards Merlot 2019
      Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
      • JS92
      • WW90
      4.3 8 Ratings
      Regular price
      Currently Unavailable $17.99
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      17 99
      17 99
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    • Chappellet Merlot 2019  Front Label
      Chappellet Merlot 2019
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
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        Currently Unavailable $64.99
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        64 99
        64 99
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      • Bogle Merlot 2019  Front Label
        Bogle Merlot 2019
        Merlot from California
          4.0 20 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $10.99
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          10 99
          10 99
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        • Cannonball Merlot 2019  Front Label
          Cannonball Merlot 2019
          Merlot from Sonoma County, California
          • WW89
          • WE89
          • TP89
          4.3 13 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $15.99
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          15 99
          15 99
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        • Robert Mondavi Private Selection Rum Barrel Aged Merlot 2019  Front Label
          Robert Mondavi Private Selection Rum Barrel Aged Merlot 2019
          Merlot from Monterey, Central Coast, California
            4.3 6 Ratings
            Regular price
            Currently Unavailable $14.99
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            14 99
            14 99
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          • Markham Merlot 2019  Front Label
            Markham Merlot 2019
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • JS92
            0.0 0 Ratings
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            Currently Unavailable $26.99
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            26 99
            26 99
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          • Rutherford Hill Merlot 2019  Front Label
            Rutherford Hill Merlot 2019
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • WS91
            4.0 38 Ratings
            Regular price
            Currently Unavailable $29.99
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            29 99
            29 99
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          • Rombauer Merlot 2019  Front Label
            Rombauer Merlot 2019
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
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              Currently Unavailable $53.99
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              53 99
              53 99
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            • Stags' Leap Winery Merlot 2019  Front Label
              Stags' Leap Winery Merlot 2019
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              • JS93
              4.0 7 Ratings
              Regular price
              Currently Unavailable $34.99
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              34 99
              34 99
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            • Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot 2019  Front Label
              Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot 2019
              Merlot from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
              • JS91
              4.3 8 Ratings
              Regular price
              Currently Unavailable $18.99
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              18 99
              18 99
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            • Parducci Small Lot Merlot 2019  Front Label
              Parducci Small Lot Merlot 2019
              Merlot from Mendocino, California
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Regular price
                Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                18
                14 99
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              • Parcel 41 Merlot 2019  Front Label
                Parcel 41 Merlot 2019
                Merlot from North Coast, California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
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                  Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                  18 99
                  18 99
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                • Menage a Trois Lavish Merlot 2019  Front Label
                  Menage a Trois Lavish Merlot 2019
                  Merlot from California
                    2.8 10 Ratings
                    Regular price
                    Currently Unavailable $11.99
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                    11 99
                    11 99
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                  • William Hill Central Coast Merlot 2019  Front Label
                    William Hill Central Coast Merlot 2019
                    Merlot from Central Coast, California
                    • D90
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Regular price
                    Currently Unavailable $13.99
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                    13 99
                    13 99
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                  • Trefethen Merlot 2019  Front Label
                    Trefethen Merlot 2019
                    Merlot from Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California
                    • D90
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Regular price
                    Currently Unavailable $47.99
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                    47 99
                    47 99
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                  • Broadside Margarita Vineyard Merlot 2019  Front Label
                    Broadside Margarita Vineyard Merlot 2019
                    Merlot from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
                    • WE90
                    3.9 12 Ratings
                    Regular price
                    Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                    18 99
                    18 99
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                  • Napa Cellars Merlot 2019  Front Label
                    Napa Cellars Merlot 2019
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    • JS92
                    • WS89
                    3.9 9 Ratings
                    Regular price
                    Currently Unavailable $24.99
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                    24 99
                    24 99
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                  • Alias Winery Merlot 2019  Front Label
                    Alias Winery Merlot 2019
                    Merlot from California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Regular price
                      Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                      14 99
                      14 99
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                    • Murphy-Goode California Merlot 2019  Front Label
                      Murphy-Goode California Merlot 2019
                      Merlot from California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Regular price
                        Currently Unavailable $15.99
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                        15 99
                        15 99
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                      • Bench Knights Valley Merlot 2019  Front Label
                        Bench Knights Valley Merlot 2019
                        Merlot from Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Regular price
                          Currently Unavailable $25.99
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                          25 99
                          25 99
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                        • Dante Merlot 2019  Front Label
                          Dante Merlot 2019
                          Merlot from California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Regular price
                            Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                            14 99
                            14 99
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