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Merlot

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture ...

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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.

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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    Paloma Spring Mountain Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WE94
    • WS93
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    Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 2002
    Merlot from North Coast, California
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    • W&S93
    • RP90
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  • Baobab Merlot 2002
    Merlot from South Africa
    • WE87
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  • Lapostolle Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Chile
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    Concha y Toro Xplorador Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Chile
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  • Los Cardos Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Argentina
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    Two Vines Columbia Valley Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
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    Sebastiani Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
    • WE91
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    Bonterra Organically Grown Merlot 2002
    Merlot from North Coast, California
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  • Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Chile
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    William Hill Napa Valley Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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    Columbia Crest Reserve Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WS92
    • WE90
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    Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WE92
    • WS91
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    Rodney Strong Sonoma Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
    • WE87
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    Iron Horse T-bar-T Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Sonoma County, California
    • WE92
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    Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
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    • WE88
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    Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Chile
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    • W&S91
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    Cakebread Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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    Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2002
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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    Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2002
    Merlot from North Coast, California
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    • WE93
    • W&S93
    • RP90
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