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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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  • Decoy Merlot 2019  Front Label
    Decoy Merlot 2019
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
      4.3 18 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $28.99
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      28 99
      28 99
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    • Josh Cellars Merlot 2019  Front Label
      Josh Cellars Merlot 2019
      Merlot from California
        4.0 10 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $13.99
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        13 99
        13 99
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      • Apothic Merlot 2019  Front Label
        Apothic Merlot 2019
        Merlot from California
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $12.99
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          12 99
          12 99
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        • Mirassou Merlot 2019  Front Label
          Mirassou Merlot 2019
          Merlot from California
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $11.99
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            11 99
            11 99
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          • Camp Merlot 2019  Front Label
            Camp Merlot 2019
            Merlot from Sonoma County, California
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $21.99
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              21 99
              21 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
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                18 99
                18 99
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              • Wente Sandstone Merlot 2019  Front Label
                Wente Sandstone Merlot 2019
                Merlot from Livermore Valley, Central Coast, California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                  14 99
                  14 99
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                • Dante Merlot 2019  Front Label
                  Dante Merlot 2019
                  Merlot from California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                    14 99
                    14 99
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                  • Oberon Merlot 2019  Front Label
                    Oberon Merlot 2019
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $23.99
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                      23 99
                      23 99
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                    • Firestone Merlot 2019  Front Label
                      Firestone Merlot 2019
                      Merlot from Central Coast, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $23.99
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                        23 99
                        23 99
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                      • Trig Point Diamond Dust Vineyard Merlot 2019  Front Label
                        Trig Point Diamond Dust Vineyard Merlot 2019
                        Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $23.99
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                          23 99
                          23 99
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                        • Textbook Merlot 2019  Front Label
                          Textbook Merlot 2019
                          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $27.99
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                            27 99
                            27 99
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