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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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  • Merryvale Las Amigas Beckstoffer Vineyard Merlot 2000 Front Label
    Merryvale Las Amigas Beckstoffer Vineyard Merlot 2000
    Merlot from Carneros, California
    • W&S89
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    36 99
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  • Clos Pegase Mitsuko's Vineyard Merlot 2000 Front Label
    Clos Pegase Mitsuko's Vineyard Merlot 2000
    Merlot from Carneros, California
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  • St. Supery Merlot (half-bottle) 2000
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • W&S85
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  • Trentadue Merlot 2000
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
    • W&S89
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  • Markham Merlot 2000 Front Label
    Markham Merlot 2000
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • W&S87
    • WS86
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  • Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Merlot 2000 Front Label
    Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Merlot 2000
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • W&S92
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  • Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot 2000
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
    • W&S88
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  • Robert Mondavi Stags Leap District Merlot 2000
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • W&S93
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  • Sterling Napa Merlot 2000 Front Label
    Sterling Napa Merlot 2000
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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    • W&S87
    • WE86
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  • White Oak Merlot 2000
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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  • Chateau Souverain Alexander Valley Merlot 2000 Front Label
    Chateau Souverain Alexander Valley Merlot 2000
    Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • W&S87
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    21 99
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  • Duckhorn Howell Mountain Napa Valley Merlot 2000 Front Bottle Shot
    Duckhorn Howell Mountain Napa Valley Merlot 2000
    Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
    • W&S92
    • WS90
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  • St. Supery Merlot 2000 Front Label
    St. Supery Merlot 2000
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • W&S85
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  • Keenan Reserve Merlot 2000 Front Label
    Keenan Reserve Merlot 2000
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WE93
    • W&S91
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $36.99
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    49 99
    36 99
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