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.
- Pinot Noir5921
- Cabernet Sauvignon3560
- Other Red Blends3317
- Rhône Blends1661
- Bordeaux Red Blends1598
- Other Red Wine810
- Cabernet Franc448
- Petite Sirah229
- Tuscan Blends213
- Nero d'Avola112
- Petit Verdot52
- St. Laurent22
- Nerello Mascalese17
- Touriga Nacional15
- Alicante Bouschet6
- Pinot Meunier5
Ornellaia Masseto 2013Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
Lockwood Merlot 2013Merlot from Monterey, Central Coast, California
Swanson Napa Valley Merlot 2013Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Substance Super Substance Stoneridge Merlot 2013Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
Luna Vineyards Merlot 2013Merlot from North Coast, California
Cakebread Merlot 2013Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Clos Du Val Merlot 2013Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Hendry Merlot 2013Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Petrolo Galatrona 2013Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
entwine Merlot 2013Merlot from California
Beringer Napa Valley Merlot 2013Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Merlot 2013Merlot from Sonoma County, California