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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. While popular culture has in recent years lent Merlot undeserved poor reputation, one simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand its status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, 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. Oak aging may add a hint of vanilla or sweet baking spice.

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

If you saw the 2004 film Sideways, you probably recall the derision with which Miles frequently speaks of Merlot. What you may not have realized was that the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc which he ends up drinking out of a paper cup in a fast food restaurant—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. No one could have predicted that well over a decade later, Merlot would still be suffering from a PR crisis as a result, but here we are. The variety was extremely easy to sell in the 1990s and some producers indeed had gotten lazy with quality. But the fact remains that Merlot has always been capable of producing some of the world's finest wines, and now it is time to observe and enjoy its comeback.

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381 Items
  • Chateau Mayne Vieil Cuvee Alienor 2014
    Merlot from Fronsac, Bordeaux, France
    • WE 92
    Currently Unavailable $17.99
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  • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW 92
    • CG 91
    • W&S 90
    • WS 90
    Currently Unavailable $49.99
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    49 99
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  • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
    • WW 98
    • CG 93
    • WE 92
    • WS 92
    Currently Unavailable $89.99
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    89 99
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  • Santa Ema Reserve Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Maipo Valley, Chile
    • WS 90
    Currently Unavailable $12.99
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    15
    12 99
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  • Pahlmeyer Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • JS 97
    • RP 94
    • TP 91
    Currently Unavailable $74.99
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    85
    74 99
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  • The Prisoner Wine Company Thorn Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WS 91
    Currently Unavailable $38.99
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    38 99
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  • The Prisoner Wine Company Thorn Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      Currently Unavailable $41.99
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      41 99
      41 99
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    • Waterbrook Collector's Series Merlot 2013
      Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
        Currently Unavailable $12.99
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        12 99
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      • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2013
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WW 92
        • WS 90
        • WE 90
        Currently Unavailable $99.99
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        99 99
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      • Emmolo Merlot 2014
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          Currently Unavailable $54.99
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          54 99
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        • Rombauer Merlot 2013
          Merlot from Carneros, California
          • WS 90
          • WW 90
          Currently Unavailable $29.99
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          29 99
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        • Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot (3-Liter Bottle) 2013
          Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
          • WS 92
          • WE 90
          Currently Unavailable $199.99
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        • Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Merlot 2012
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
          • WE 92
          • WW 90
          Currently Unavailable $56.99
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        • Formidable Napa Valley Merlot 2012
          Merlot from Napa Valley, California
            Currently Unavailable $9.99
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            9 99
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          • Boomtown by Dusted Valley Merlot 2014
            Merlot from Washington
              Currently Unavailable $13.99
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              13 99
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            • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2013
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              • WW 92
              • WS 90
              • W&S 90
              Currently Unavailable $26.99
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              26 99
              26 99
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            • Rutherford Hill Merlot 2013
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              • TP 93
              Currently Unavailable $21.99
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              21 99
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            • Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Merlot 2014
              Merlot from California
                Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                14 99
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              • Napa Cellars Merlot 2013
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • W&S 91
                • WE 90
                Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                24
                18 99
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              • Clos du Bois North Coast Merlot 2015
                Merlot from California
                  Currently Unavailable $10.99
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                  10 99
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                • Stone Cellars Merlot 2015
                  Merlot from California
                    Currently Unavailable $6.99
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                    6 99
                    6 99
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                  • Cakebread Merlot 2013
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                      Currently Unavailable $64.99
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                    • Mt. Brave Merlot 2013
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                      • RP 94
                      • V 93
                      Currently Unavailable $74.99
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                      74 99
                      74 99
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                    • Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Roberta's Reserve 2008
                      Merlot from Yountville, Napa Valley, California
                      • RP 99
                      • JS 96
                      • V 96
                      Currently Unavailable $299.99
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                      299 99
                      299 99
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                    • Pepperwood Grove Merlot
                      Merlot from Chile
                        Currently Unavailable $7.99
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                        8 99
                        7 99
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