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Merlot

Learn about Merlot — taste profile, popular regions and more ...

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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.

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    Ravenswood Donnell Ranch Merlot 1996
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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      Ravenswood Sangiacomo Merlot 1996
      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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      • Flynn Merlot 1996
        Merlot from Oregon
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        • Louis Martini Merlot (half-bottle) 1996
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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          • Louis Martini Reserve Merlot 1996
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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              Ballentine Merlot 1996
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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              • Raymond Amberhill Merlot 1996
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                • Sartori Merlot 1996
                  Merlot from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
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                    Belvedere Dry Creek Merlot 1996
                    Merlot from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
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                      Mirassou Family Selection Merlot 1996
                      Merlot from Central Coast, California
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                    • Laboure Roi Merlot Vin de Pays DOC (1.5L) 1996
                      Merlot from France
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                      • Forest Glen Barrel Select Merlot (half-bottle) 1996
                        Merlot from California
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                          Yonder Hill Merlot 1996
                          Merlot from Stellenbosch, South Africa
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                          • Stonestreet Alexander Valley Merlot (half-bottle) 1996
                            Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
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                            Christian Moueix Merlot 1996
                            Merlot from Bordeaux, France
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                            • Lagaria Merlot (1.5L) 1996
                              Merlot from Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy
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                              • CK Mondavi Merlot 1996
                                Merlot from California
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                                • Columbia Crest Estate Series Merlot 1996
                                  Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
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                                • Little Cobb Road Merlot 1996
                                  Merlot from New York, Other U.S.
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                                  • Latah Creek Merlot 1996
                                    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
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                                      Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Merlot 1996
                                      Merlot from Chile
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                                      Clos Pegase Mitsuko's Vineyard Merlot 1996
                                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                                        Charles Krug Reserve Merlot 1996
                                        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                                        • Bethany Creek Merlot 1996
                                          Merlot from Australia
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                                            Havens Reserve Merlot 1996
                                            Merlot from Carneros, California
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