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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. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's 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.

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 and Cabernet Franc.

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  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Vineyard Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WS90
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  • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2013
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • WW92
    • CG91
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    • W&S90
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  • Pahlmeyer Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    • JS97
    • RP94
    • TP91
    • V91
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  • Emmolo Merlot 2014
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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    • Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Merlot 2012
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      • WE92
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    • Chateau Mayne Vieil Cuvee Alienor 2014
      Merlot from Fronsac, Bordeaux, France
      • WE92
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    • Swanson Napa Valley Merlot 2013
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      • TP92
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    • Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 2013
      Merlot from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
      • WW98
      • CG93
      • WS92
      • WE92
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    • Santa Ema Reserve Merlot 2013
      Merlot from Maipo Valley, Chile
      • WS90
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    • Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (375ML half-bottle) 2013
      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
      • WW92
      • W&S90
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    • Pepperwood Grove Merlot
      Merlot from Chile
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      • Markham Merlot 2014
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WS89
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      • The Prisoner Wine Company Thorn Merlot 2013
        Merlot from Napa Valley, California
        • WS91
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      • Buena Vista Sonoma Merlot 2013
        Merlot from Carneros, California
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        • Rodney Strong Sonoma Merlot 2014
          Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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          • Chateau Guibot La Fourvieille 2011
            Merlot from St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
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            • Napa Cellars Merlot 2013
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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            • Waterbrook Collector's Series Merlot 2013
              Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
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              • Shafer Napa Valley Merlot 2014
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • WW92
                • V91
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              • Rombauer Merlot 2013
                Merlot from Carneros, California
                • WW91
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              • Leonetti Merlot 2015
                Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
                • WS93
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              • Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2013
                Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
                • RP91
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              • Noble Vines 181 Lodi Merlot 2014
                Merlot from Lodi, California
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                • Nickel & Nickel Harris Vineyard Merlot 2014
                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                  • Rutherford Hill Merlot 2013
                    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                    • TP93
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