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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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32 Items
  • Keenan Napa Valley Merlot 2015  Front Label
    Keenan Napa Valley Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • RP92
    • WW91
    4.1 7 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $48.99
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    48 99
    48 99
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  • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2015 Front Label
    Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW92
    • WE90
    4.1 58 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $49.99
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    56
    49 99
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  • Emmolo Merlot 2015 Front Label
    Emmolo Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW91
    4.3 50 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $44.99
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    60
    44 99
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  • St. Supery Rutherford Merlot 2015  Front Label
    St. Supery Rutherford Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
    • TP93
    • WW93
    4.4 9 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $69.99
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    69 99
    69 99
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  • Keenan Mailbox Vineyard Spring Mountain Reserve Merlot 2015 Front Label
    Keenan Mailbox Vineyard Spring Mountain Reserve Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
    • V95
    • WW94
    • RP92
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $89.99
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    89 99
    89 99
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  • Dry Creek Vineyard Merlot 2015 Front Label
    Dry Creek Vineyard Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • WW90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $26.99
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    28
    26 99
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  • Angeline Reserve Merlot 2015 Front Label
    Angeline Reserve Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
    • WW88
    4.3 5 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $13.99
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    13 99
    13 99
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  • The Fableist Merlot 2015  Front Label
    The Fableist Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
    • WW89
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $21.99
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    21 99
    21 99
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  • AVA Grace Merlot 2015 Front Label
    AVA Grace Merlot 2015
    Merlot from California
    • WW88
    3.8 8 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $8.99
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    12
    8 99
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  • Rancho Sisquoc Merlot 2015 Front Label
    Rancho Sisquoc Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
    • WW89
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $20.99
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    22
    20 99
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  • Rombauer Merlot 2015 Front Label
    Rombauer Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW91
    • WS90
    4.5 9 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $39.99
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    50
    39 99
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  • Roots Run Deep Educated Guess Merlot 2015 Front Label
    Roots Run Deep Educated Guess Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW89
    4.2 12 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $23.99
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    23 99
    23 99
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  • Baron Herzog Merlot (OU Kosher) 2015 Front Label
    Baron Herzog Merlot (OU Kosher) 2015
    Merlot from Central Coast, California
    • WW89
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $12.99
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    12 99
    12 99
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  • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 2015 Front Label
    Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 2015
    Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
    • WW94
    • WE93
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $399.97
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    399 97
    399 97
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  • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2015 Front Label
    Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2015
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW91
    • WE90
    4.4 10 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $28.99
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    28 99
    28 99
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  • Matanzas Creek Alexander Valley Merlot 2015  Front Label
    Matanzas Creek Alexander Valley Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • WW90
    3.9 6 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $19.99
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    19 99
    19 99
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  • Keenan Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2015 Front Label
    Keenan Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2015
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • RP92
    • WW91
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $21.99
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    21 99
    21 99
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  • Hunt & Harvest Merlot 2015 Front Label
    Hunt & Harvest Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
    • WW91
    3.3 23 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $35.99
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    35 99
    35 99
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  • Frog's Leap Merlot 2015 Front Label
    Frog's Leap Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
    • W&S93
    • WW92
    4.0 23 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $39.99
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    39 99
    39 99
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  • Trefethen Merlot 2015 Front Label
    Trefethen Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California
    • D95
    • WE93
    • WW93
    • TP91
    4.2 27 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $37.99
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    40
    37 99
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  • Keenan Carneros Merlot 2015  Front Label
    Keenan Carneros Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Carneros, California
    • WW93
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $35.99
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    42
    35 99
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  • Ca'Momi Merlot 2015 Front Label
    Ca'Momi Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW89
    3.9 24 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $16.99
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    22
    16 99
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  • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2015 Front Label
    Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2015
    Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
    • WW94
    • WE93
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $199.97
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    199 97
    199 97
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  • Rodney Strong Sonoma Merlot 2015 Front Label
    Rodney Strong Sonoma Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
    • WW89
    3.8 24 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $18.99
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    18 99
    18 99
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  • Frog's Leap Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2015 Front Label
    Frog's Leap Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2015
    Merlot from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
    • W&S93
    • WW92
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $19.99
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    19 99
    19 99
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