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Merlot

Learn about Merlot — taste profile, popular regions and more ...

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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.

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.

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  • Keenan Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2011 Front Label
    Keenan Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2011
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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    • Frog's Leap Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2011 Front Label
      Frog's Leap Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2011
      Merlot from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
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    • Shafer Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2011 Front Label
      Shafer Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2011
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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      • Grgich Hills Estate Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2011 Front Label
        Grgich Hills Estate Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2011
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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        • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2011 Front Label
          Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2011
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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          • Clos du Bois California Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2011 Front Label
            Clos du Bois California Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2011
            Merlot from North Coast, California
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