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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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390 Items
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  • Formidable Napa Valley Merlot 2012
    Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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    • Chateau St. Jean Sonoma County Merlot 2012
      Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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      • Simi Merlot 2012
        Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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        • Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot 2014
          Merlot from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
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          • J. Bookwalter Foreshadow Merlot 2013
            Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
            • WE90
            • RP90
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          • Arietta Merlot 1999
            Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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            • V92
            • WS92
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          • Clos du Bois North Coast Merlot 2015
            Merlot from California
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            • Ca'Momi Merlot 2015
              Merlot from Napa Valley, California
              • WW89
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            • Simi Merlot 2013
              Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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              • Swanson Napa Valley Merlot 2013
                Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                • TP92
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              • Clos Pegase Mitsuko's Vineyard Merlot 2014
                Merlot from Carneros, California
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                • Annabella Merlot 2014
                  Merlot from California
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                  • ONEHOPE California Merlot 2014
                    Merlot from California
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                    • Rutherford Ranch Merlot 2014
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                      • WE91
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                    • Marilyn Napa Valley 25 Silver Anniversary Merlot 2009
                      Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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                      • Red Rock Merlot 2015
                        Merlot from California
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                        • Castiglion del Bosco Dainero 2012
                          Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
                          • JS92
                          • WS90
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                        • Geyser Peak Merlot 2012
                          Merlot from California
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                          • Waterbrook Collector's Series Merlot 2013
                            Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
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                            • Save Me, San Francisco Hella Fine Merlot 2013
                              Merlot from Central Coast, California
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                              • Columbia Crest H3 Merlot 2014
                                Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
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                                • Rutherford Hill Merlot 2013
                                  Merlot from Napa Valley, California
                                  • TP93
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                                • Guenoc California Merlot 2015
                                  Merlot from California
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                                  • Mirassou Merlot 2015
                                    Merlot from California
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                                    • Cupcake Vineyards Merlot 2014
                                      Merlot from Central Coast, California
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