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.
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Waterbrook Collector's Series Merlot 2012Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
St. Supery Rutherford Merlot 2012Merlot from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
Hedges Family Estate HIP Merlot 2012Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
Two Vines California Merlot 2012Merlot from California
Lockwood Merlot 2012Merlot from Monterey, Central Coast, California
Leonetti Merlot 2012Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
Falesco Merlot Umbria 2012Merlot from Umbria, Italy
Raymond Reserve Selection Merlot 2012Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Familia Torres Atrium 2012Merlot from Spain
Clos Du Val Merlot 2012Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Clos du Bois Alexander Valley Reserve Merlot 2012Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
The Prisoner Wine Company Thorn Merlot 2012Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Emmolo Merlot 2012Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Le Macchiole Messorio 2012Merlot from Tuscany, Italy