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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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  • Vendange Merlot
    Merlot from California
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    • BV Century Cellars Merlot
      Merlot from California
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      • Red Rock Merlot  Front Label
        Red Rock Merlot
        Merlot from California
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        • Two Vines California Merlot  Front Label
          Two Vines California Merlot
          Merlot from California
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          • Firestone Prosperity Merlot Front Label
            Firestone Prosperity Merlot
            Merlot from Central Coast, California
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            • Rex Goliath Merlot Front Label
              Rex Goliath Merlot
              Merlot from Central Coast, California
                4.3 9 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $11.99
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                11 99
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              • Chateau Diana Merlot Front Label
                Chateau Diana Merlot
                Merlot from California
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                • Scotto Cellars Grace Bridge Merlot  Front Label
                  Scotto Cellars Grace Bridge Merlot
                  Merlot from California
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                  • Livingston California Reserve Merlot Front Label
                    Livingston California Reserve Merlot
                    Merlot from California
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                    • Oak Leaf Vineyards Merlot  Front Label
                      Oak Leaf Vineyards Merlot
                      Merlot from California
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                      • Vista Point Vineyards Merlot  Front Label
                        Vista Point Vineyards Merlot
                        Merlot from California
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                        • North Bank Merlot  Front Label
                          North Bank Merlot
                          Merlot from California
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                          • Rocket Red Merlot  Front Label
                            Rocket Red Merlot
                            Merlot from Clarksburg, Yolo County, California
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                            • Foodies Wines Merlot  Front Label
                              Foodies Wines Merlot
                              Merlot from California
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                              • Eight Tiny Reindeer Winery Dasher & Dancer Merlot  Front Label
                                Eight Tiny Reindeer Winery Dasher & Dancer Merlot
                                Merlot from California
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                                  Currently Unavailable $9.99
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                                  9 99
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                                • Three Wishes Merlot Front Label
                                  Three Wishes Merlot
                                  Merlot from California
                                    4.6 6 Ratings
                                    Currently Unavailable $5.99
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                                    5 99
                                    5 99
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                                  • Electric Reindeer Merlot Front Label
                                    Electric Reindeer Merlot
                                    Merlot from California
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                                      5 99
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                                    • Liberty Creek Merlot  Front Label
                                      Liberty Creek Merlot
                                      Merlot from California
                                        3.6 5 Ratings
                                        Currently Unavailable $3.99
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                                        3 99
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                                      • Stray Grape Urban Winery Stag's Leap Merlot  Front Label
                                        Stray Grape Urban Winery Stag's Leap Merlot
                                        Merlot from Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California
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                                        • Chateau La Paws Merlot  Front Label
                                          Chateau La Paws Merlot
                                          Merlot from California
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                                            12 99
                                            12 99
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                                          • Havenscourt Merlot  Front Label
                                            Havenscourt Merlot
                                            Merlot from California
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                                              8 99
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                                            • Copper Ridge Vineyards Merlot Front Label
                                              Copper Ridge Vineyards Merlot
                                              Merlot from California
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                                                5 99
                                                5 99
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                                              • Barefoot Merlot Front Label
                                                Barefoot Merlot
                                                Merlot from California
                                                • TP88
                                                3.8 27 Ratings
                                                Currently Unavailable $4.99
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                                                12 99
                                                4 99
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