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 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.
- Cabernet Sauvignon272
- Bordeaux Red Blends201
- Pinot Noir153
- Other Red Blends81
- Rhône Blends19
- Tuscan Blends8
- Cabernet Franc6
- Petite Sirah6
- Other Red Wine4
- Pinot Meunier2
Ravenswood Sangiacomo Merlot 1996Merlot from Sonoma County, California
Ravenswood Donnell Ranch Merlot 1996Merlot from Sonoma County, California
Pahlmeyer Merlot 1996Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Bodega Norton Merlot 1996Merlot from Argentina
Zonnebloem Merlot 1996Merlot from South Africa
Louis Martini Merlot (half-bottle) 1996Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Louis Martini Reserve Merlot 1996Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Ornellaia Masseto 1996Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
Mirassou Family Selection Merlot 1996Merlot from Central Coast, California
Forest Glen Barrel Select Merlot (half-bottle) 1996Merlot from California
Yonder Hill Merlot 1996Merlot from Stellenbosch, South Africa
Christian Moueix Merlot 1996Merlot from Bordeaux, France
CK Mondavi Merlot 1996Merlot from California
Lagaria Merlot (1.5L) 1996Merlot from Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy
Little Cobb Road Merlot 1996Merlot from New York, Other U.S.
Latah Creek Merlot 1996Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
Bethany Creek Merlot 1996Merlot from Australia
Callaway Merlot 1996Merlot from California
Fortant Merlot (OU Kosher) 1996Merlot from Pays d’Oc, South of France, France
Silverado Merlot 1996Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Ballentine Merlot 1996Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Bollini Reserve Merlot 1996Merlot from Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy
Rutherford Hill Merlot (half-bottle) 1996Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Valley Merlot 1996Merlot from Napa Valley, California