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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. But the grape also has enough stuffing to make serious, world-renowned wines. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, in St. Emilion and Pomerol, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, 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 with Cabernet Franc.

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    PlumpJack Merlot 2016
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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    Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Merlot 2016
    Merlot from Santa Margarita Ranch, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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    Markham Merlot 2016
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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      Scenic Root Winegrowers Textbook Merlot 2016
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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        J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot 2016
        Merlot from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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          Maggio Family Vineyards Merlot 2016
          Merlot from Lodi, California
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            Dark Horse Merlot 2016
            Merlot from California
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            Oberon Merlot 2016
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            • WW92
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            Mirassou Merlot 2016
            Merlot from California
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              Josh Cellars Merlot 2016
              Merlot from California
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                Decoy Merlot 2016
                Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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                Galil Mountain Merlot 2016
                Merlot from Israel
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                Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Vineyard Merlot 2016
                Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
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                4.6 7 Ratings
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                Charles Smith Velvet Devil Merlot 2016
                Merlot from Washington
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                  Rombauer Merlot 2016
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                    Trefethen Merlot 2016
                    Merlot from Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California
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                      Provenance Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 2016
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                      Broadside Margarita Vineyard Merlot 2016
                      Merlot from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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                      Bogle Merlot 2016
                      Merlot from California
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                        Chateau Souverain Merlot 2016
                        Merlot from California
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                        Robert Hall Merlot 2016
                        Merlot from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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                          Rust en Vrede Merlot 2016
                          Merlot from South Africa
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                            AVA Grace Merlot 2016
                            Merlot from California
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                              Folie a Deux Merlot 2016
                              Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
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                                Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Merlot 2016
                                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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