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 reputation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. 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.
- Pinot Noir121
- Cabernet Sauvignon94
- Other Red Blends53
- Rhône Blends53
- Bordeaux Red Blends51
- Tuscan Blends12
- Cabernet Franc5
- Nero d'Avola3
- Petite Sirah3
- Nerello Mascalese1
Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2018Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
Markham Merlot 2018Merlot from Napa Valley, California
L'Ecole 41 Estate Merlot 2017Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
Candoni Organic Merlot 2019Merlot from Veneto, Italy
Avignonesi Desiderio Merlot 2016Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
Rutherford Ranch Merlot 2018Merlot from Napa Valley, California
St. Francis Merlot 2018Merlot from Sonoma County, California
Maddalena Merlot 2016Merlot from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
Tortoise Creek Merlot 2018Merlot from Clarksburg, Yolo County, California
Oxford Landing Merlot 2018Merlot from South Australia, Australia
Oxford Landing Merlot 2019Merlot from South Australia, Australia
Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot 2019Merlot from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Trig Point Diamond Dust Vineyard Merlot 2019Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
Camp Merlot 2019Merlot from Sonoma County, California
Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Merlot 2018Merlot from Santa Margarita Ranch, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Merlot 2018Merlot from Sonoma County, California
Keenan Napa Valley Merlot 2017Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Merryvale Merlot 2016Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Chateau Ste. Michelle Canoe Ridge Estate Vineyard Merlot 2015Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
Parducci Small Lot Merlot 2018Merlot from Mendocino, California