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Merlot

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture...

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. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, 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 and Cabernet Franc.

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  • J. Bookwalter Foreshadow Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE90
    • RP90
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  • Petrolo Galatrona 2013
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
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    • RP97
    • W&S94
    • WS92
    • V91
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  • Beringer Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
    • WS92
    • RP90
    Currently Unavailable $59.99
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  • Le Macchiole Messorio 2011
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • V96
    • JS95
    • WS94
    • RP94
    • WE93
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  • Le Macchiole Messorio 2013
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
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    • W&S97
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    • JS96
    • WE93
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  • Woodward Canyon Columbia Valley Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE93
    • V91
    • WS90
    • RP90
    Currently Unavailable $42.99
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  • Rocca di Frassinello Baffonero Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • RP95
    • JS93
    • WS93
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  • St. Francis Reserve Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
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  • Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • RP91
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  • Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Roberta's Reserve 2012
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • RP98
    • JS98
    • WS93
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    345
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  • Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE91
    • RP91
    Currently Unavailable $36.99
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  • Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Roberta's Reserve 2010
    Merlot from Yountville, Napa Valley, California
    • V98
    • RP97
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  • O'Shaughnessy Howell Mountain Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
    • RP94
    • V92
    Currently Unavailable $64.99
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  • Masseto 2013
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
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    • RP97
    • WS96
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  • Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana 2014
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • JS95
    • RP94
    • WS93
    Currently Unavailable $209.00
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    209
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  • Wines of Substance Super Substance Stoneridge Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • RP93
    • WW92
    Currently Unavailable $43.99
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  • PlumpJack Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • V92
    • RP90
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  • Keenan Mailbox Vineyard Spring Mountain Reserve Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
    • RP94
    Currently Unavailable $69.99
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  • Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Roberta's Reserve 2014
    Merlot from Yountville, Napa Valley, California
    • JS98
    • RP96
    Currently Unavailable $375.00
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  • Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Merlot 2003
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • RP91
    Currently Unavailable $97.97
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  • Shafer Napa Valley Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW92
    • RP92
    • V91
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  • Efeste Upright Merlot 2010
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE92
    • WS90
    • RP90
    Currently Unavailable $44.99
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    44 99
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  • Tamber Bey Deux Chevaux Vineyard Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Yountville, Napa Valley, California
    • RP90
    Currently Unavailable $74.99
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    74 99
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  • L'Ecole 41 Columbia Valley Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WS89
    • RP89
    Currently Unavailable $24.99
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  • Pahlmeyer Merlot 2008
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • RP91
    • WS91
    Currently Unavailable $89.97
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    89 97
    89 97
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