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.
- Cabernet Sauvignon94
- Pinot Noir60
- Bordeaux Red Blends43
- Other Red Blends33
- Rhône Blends22
- Cabernet Franc10
- Petite Sirah4
- Tuscan Blends2
- Petit Verdot1
- Nerello Mascalese1
Hestan Vineyards Stephanie Merlot 2017Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Chateau Ste. Michelle Canoe Ridge Estate Vineyard Merlot 2017Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot 2017Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
Avignonesi Desiderio Merlot 2017Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
Duboeuf Merlot 2017Merlot from Pays d’Oc, South of France, France
GEN5 Merlot 2017Merlot from Clarksburg, Yolo County, California
Century Cellars Merlot 2017Merlot from California
Peju Winery Merlot 2017Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Donati Family Vineyards Merlot 2017Merlot from Paicines, Central Coast, California
Waterbrook Reserve Merlot 2017Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
Masseto (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2017Merlot from Tuscany, Italy