Learn about Merlot — taste profile, popular regions and more ...
An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot can be made into a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the best wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol where it is blended with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly from California’s Napa Valley.
Tasting Notes for Merlot
Merlot is a dry, red wine known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry and raspberry. From cool climates, Merlot wines will express earthy and herbal notes, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.
Perfect Food Pairings for Merlot
Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity are a hit with pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.
Sommelier Secrets for Merlot
Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many 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.
- Pinot Noir215
- Cabernet Sauvignon133
- Bordeaux Red Blends75
- Rhône Blends41
- Other Red Blends34
- Petite Sirah9
- Cabernet Franc7
- Other Red Wine3
- Petit Verdot2
- Nero d'Avola1
- Touriga Nacional1
Matthiasson Red Hen Vineyard Merlot 2011Merlot from Sonoma County, California
Clarendon Hills Brookman Merlot 2011Merlot from McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
L'Ecole 41 Estate Merlot 2011Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
Coach House Cellars Merlot 2011Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
Efeste Upright Merlot 2011Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
Feudi del Pisciotto Valentino Merlot 2011Merlot from Sicily, Italy
Sebastiani Alexander Valley Merlot 2011Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
McIntyre Kimberly Vineyards Merlot 2011Merlot from Central Coast, California
Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Merlot 2011Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Trinchero Vista Montone Vineyard Daybreak Block Merlot 2011Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Le Macchiole Messorio 2011Merlot from Tuscany, Italy