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 Sauvignon298
- Bordeaux Red Blends228
- Pinot Noir184
- Other Red Blends95
- Rhône Blends21
- Petite Sirah8
- Tuscan Blends8
- Other Red Wine7
- Cabernet Franc5
- Pinot Meunier2
Ravenswood Donnell Ranch Merlot 1996Merlot from Sonoma County, California
Ravenswood Sangiacomo Merlot 1996Merlot from Sonoma County, California
Flynn Merlot 1996Merlot from Oregon
Louis Martini Merlot (half-bottle) 1996Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Louis Martini Reserve Merlot 1996Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Ballentine Merlot 1996Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Raymond Amberhill Merlot 1996Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Sartori Merlot 1996Merlot from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
Belvedere Dry Creek Merlot 1996Merlot from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Mirassou Family Selection Merlot 1996Merlot from Central Coast, California
Laboure Roi Merlot Vin de Pays DOC (1.5L) 1996Merlot from France
Forest Glen Barrel Select Merlot (half-bottle) 1996Merlot from California
Yonder Hill Merlot 1996Merlot from Stellenbosch, South Africa
Stonestreet Alexander Valley Merlot (half-bottle) 1996Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
Christian Moueix Merlot 1996Merlot from Bordeaux, France
Lagaria Merlot (1.5L) 1996Merlot from Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy
CK Mondavi Merlot 1996Merlot from California
Columbia Crest Estate Series Merlot 1996Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
Little Cobb Road Merlot 1996Merlot from New York, Other U.S.
Latah Creek Merlot 1996Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
Charles Krug Reserve Merlot 1996Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Bethany Creek Merlot 1996Merlot from Australia
Havens Reserve Merlot 1996Merlot from Carneros, California