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.
- Bordeaux Red Blends408
- Cabernet Sauvignon120
- Pinot Noir93
- Rhône Blends53
- Other Red Blends47
- Cabernet Franc20
- Tuscan Blends11
- Nerello Mascalese4
- Other Red Wine1
- Petit Verdot1
- Touriga Nacional1
- Alicante Bouschet1
La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot 2017Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana 2019Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
Mt. Brave Merlot 2018Merlot from Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley, California
Seavey Merlot 2014Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Masseto (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2017Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
Hickinbotham The Revivalist Merlot 2017Merlot from McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
Lynsolence (Futures Pre-Sale) 2020Merlot from St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France