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Merlot

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture ...

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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.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

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 permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

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.

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    Petrolo Galatrona 2010
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
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    Ornellaia Masseto (3 Liter Bottle) 2010
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
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    • WS95
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    Ornellaia Masseto (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2010
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
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    • WS95
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    Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Roberta's Reserve 2010
    Merlot from Yountville, Napa Valley, California
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    Duckhorn Estate Grown Merlot 2010
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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      Pedestal Merlot 2010
      Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
      • RP94
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      Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2010
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      • RP90
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      Leonetti Merlot 2010
      Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
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      Shafer Napa Valley Merlot 2010
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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      Pahlmeyer Merlot 2010
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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      Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 2010
      Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
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      Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2010
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      • WW91
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      Le Macchiole Messorio (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2010
      Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
      • WE96
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      • WS92
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      Ornellaia Masseto 2010
      Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
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      Avignonesi Desiderio Merlot 2010
      Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
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        Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2010
        Merlot from North Coast, California
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        Le Macchiole Messorio 2010
        Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
        • RP95
        • W&S93
        • WS92
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