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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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18 Items
18 Items
  • Rombauer Merlot 2013 Front Label
    Rombauer Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Carneros, California
    • WW91
    • WS90
    4.4 14 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $39.99
    Try the 2018 Vintage 55 99
    39 99
    39 99
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  • The Prisoner Wine Company Thorn Merlot 2013 Front Label
    The Prisoner Wine Company Thorn Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WS91
    4.5 36 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $38.99
    Try the 2018 Vintage 41 99
    45
    38 99
    Save $6.01 (13%)
  • Hourglass Blueline Vineyard Merlot 2013 Front Label
    Hourglass Blueline Vineyard Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WE93
    • RP92
    • WS91
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $84.99
    Try the 2018 Vintage 79 99
    84 99
    84 99
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  • St. Supery Rutherford Merlot 2013 Front Label
    St. Supery Rutherford Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
    • WS90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $43.98
    Try the 2016 Vintage 49 99
    50
    43 98
    Save $6.02 (12%)
  • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2013 Front Label
    Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW92
    • CG91
    • WS90
    • W&S90
    • WE90
    4.3 46 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $51.99
    Try the 2018 Vintage 55 99
    54
    51 99
    Save $2.01 (4%)
  • Flora Springs Napa Valley Merlot 2013 Front Label
    Flora Springs Napa Valley Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • TP92
    • WS90
    3.8 10 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $25.99
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    30
    25 99
    Save $4.01 (13%)
  • Barnett Vineyards Spring Mountain Merlot 2013 Front Label
    Barnett Vineyards Spring Mountain Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
    • RP92
    • WW92
    • WS91
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $69.99
    Try the 2017 Vintage 73 99
    69 99
    69 99
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  • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2013 Front Label
    Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW92
    • CG91
    • W&S90
    • WS90
    • WE90
    4.0 13 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $27.99
    Try the 2018 Vintage 29 99
    27 99
    27 99
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  • Longboard DaKine Vineyard Merlot 2013 Front Label
    Longboard DaKine Vineyard Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    • WS90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $22.99
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    30
    22 99
    Save $7.01 (23%)
  • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2013 Front Label
    Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2013
    Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
    • WW98
    • CG93
    • WS92
    • WE92
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $189.99
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    200
    189 99
    Save $10.01 (5%)
  • Neyers Conn Valley Merlot 2013 Front Label
    Neyers Conn Valley Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WS91
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $27.99
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    30
    27 99
    Save $2.01 (7%)
  • Flanagan Merlot 2013 Front Label
    Flanagan Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
    • WS92
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $85.00
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    85
    85
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  • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2013 Front Label
    Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW92
    • CG91
    • WE90
    • WS90
    • W&S90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $109.97
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    109 97
    109 97
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  • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 2013 Front Label
    Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
    • WW98
    • CG93
    • WS92
    • WE92
    4.6 40 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $89.99
    Try the 2017 Vintage 119 99
    95
    89 99
    Save $5.01 (5%)
  • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (3 Liter Bottle)  2013 Front Label
    Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot (3 Liter Bottle) 2013
    Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
    • WW98
    • CG93
    • WS92
    • WE92
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $379.00
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    379
    379
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  • Markham Merlot 2013 Front Label
    Markham Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WS91
    4.0 34 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $19.99
    Try the 2018 Vintage 26 99
    25
    19 99
    Save $5.01 (20%)
  • Pahlmeyer Merlot 2013 Front Label
    Pahlmeyer Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • RP96
    • WS92
    4.9 8 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $89.97
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    89 97
    89 97
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  • Decoy Merlot 2013 Front Label
    Decoy Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
    • WW89
    • WS89
    3.9 18 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $19.99
    Try the 2019 Vintage 27 99
    25
    19 99
    Save $5.01 (20%)
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