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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’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. But the grape also has enough stuffing to make serious, world-renowned wines. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, in St. Emilion and Pomerol, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

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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32 Items
32 Items
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    Pahlmeyer Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • JS96
    • WE95
    • RP95
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    Currently Unavailable $84.99
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    PlumpJack Merlot 2016
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • JD93
    • RP92
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    Currently Unavailable $69.99
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    Masseto 2015
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • RP100
    • JS99
    • WS98
    4.7 6 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $799.99
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    Tenuta Guado al Tasso Cont Ugo 2015
    Merlot from Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy
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    • V93
    • RP92
    • WE92
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    Currently Unavailable $59.99
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    Pedestal Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
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    • RP94
    • JS94
    • WE92
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    Currently Unavailable $67.99
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    Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Merlot 2016
    Merlot from Santa Margarita Ranch, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
    • WW91
    • RP90
    4.2 14 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $17.99
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    Abeja Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • RP90
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    Substance Super Substance Northridge Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, Washington
    • RP94
    • JD94
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    Keenan Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2015
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • RP92
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    Currently Unavailable $21.99
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    Chateau Ste. Michelle Canoe Ridge Estate Vineyard Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WS92
    • RP91
    • WE91
    • D90
    • JS90
    3.9 25 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $29.99
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    Mt. Brave Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley, California
    • RP94
    • JS90
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    Currently Unavailable $85.99
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    Provenance Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 2016
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • RP90
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    Currently Unavailable $29.99
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    Pepper Bridge Winery Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
    • RP91
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    Currently Unavailable $52.99
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    St. Francis Reserve Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
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    Avignonesi Desiderio Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
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    Currently Unavailable $54.99
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    Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE91
    • RP91
    4.3 16 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $28.69
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    L'Ecole 41 Estate Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
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    Hickinbotham The Revivalist Merlot 2014
    Merlot from McLaren Vale, Australia
    • JH95
    • TP93
    • RP92
    • WS92
    • JS91
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    Substance Super Substance Stoneridge Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • RP93
    • WW92
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    Currently Unavailable $51.99
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    Le Macchiole Messorio 2014
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
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    • RP92
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    Tamber Bey Deux Chevaux Vineyard Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Yountville, Napa Valley, California
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    Falesco Famiglia Cotarella Lazio Montiano 2014
    Merlot from Lazio, Italy
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    • RP92
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    Barone Ricasoli Casalferro 2013
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
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    Keenan Mailbox Vineyard Spring Mountain Reserve Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
    • V95
    • RP92
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    Rocca di Frassinello Baffonero Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • RP95
    • JS93
    • WS93
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