13 Top Merlots from Around the World

Clusters of ripe merlot grapes just before fall harvest. Getty168268126
Getty

When you buy something using retail links in our stories, we may earn a commission. Wine Enthusiast does not accept payment for reviews of wines, beers, spirits or other products. Read about our blind tasting and review process here.

Rich, plump and full of hedonistic delight, Merlot is the red grape that everyone loves or loves to hate. Despite this dichotomy, it is grown throughout the globe and yields a variety of expressions and styles in a wide range of price points—from value to ultrapremium.

Bordeaux is undoubtedly the spiritual home of Merlot, where the Right Bank regions of Saint-Émilion and Pomerol deliver iconic benchmark expressions of the variety that are destined for long-term aging. Reds from Côtes de Bordeaux appellations of Blaye and Bourg are typically Merlot dominant and offer some of the best value-driven options.

Outside of France, Merlot has also reached icon status in select areas of Tuscany and Napa, where the grape thrives in the relatively warm climates. These wines display the bold, plummy nature and soft tannins expected in the variety, but each brings their own regional nuance to the table. Washington, Colorado and New York round out the domestic options for Merlot, offering the full gamut of price points—from well-priced weekday options to age-worthy, contemplative pours. 

Everything You Need to Know About Merlot
Bottle of Airfield Merlot
Photo Courtesy Vivino

Airfield Estates 2019 Merlot (Yakima Valley); $18, Buy on Vivino. A raspberry aroma is effusive on the nose, along with notes of currant, herb and coffee… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW 

Bottle of Arietta Merlot
Photo Courtesy Vivino

Arietta 2019 Hudson Vineyards Merlot (Napa Valley); $85, Buy on Vivino. Always a standout from this winning combination of site and producer, this is a 100% varietal vineyard-designate… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW 

Bottle of Cannonball Merlot
Photo Courtesy Vivino

Cannonball 2019 Merlot (California); $16, Buy on Vivino. Ample fruit flavors and spicy oak accents give this full-bodied wine a generous expression… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Grands Marchéchaux Merlot
Photo Courtesy Vivino

Château Les Grands Maréchaux 2019 Merlot (Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux); $14, Buy on Vivino. A perfumed wine with black-fruit flavors, this is already well balanced… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Clos Fourtet
Photo Courtesy Vivino

Clos Fourtet 2018 Saint-Émilion; $129, Buy on Total Wine & More. This impressive estate has produced another fine wine. Structured, powered by tannins as much as by great fruit, this wine is set for a long aging processSEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Checkmate Merlot
Photo Courtesy Vivino

CheckMate 2017 Silent Bishop Merlot (Okanagan Valley); $75, Buy on Vivino. The black cherry fruit penetrates from start to finish, with ample acidity and silky tannins… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

A bottle of Daou

Daou 2019 Sequentis Reserve Merlot (Paso Robles); $52, Buy Wines Online. This new project by Daniel Daou offers rich aromas of black cherry, toasty oak… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of La Jotta Vineyards Mertlot
Photo Courtesy Vivino

La Jota Vineyard 2018 Merlot (Howell Mountain); $85, Buy on Vivino. Reductive on the nose, this bold mountain red is brimming in plum, cranberry and currant… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Le Macchiole Merlot
Photo Courtesy Vivino

Le Macchiole 2017 Messorio Merlot (Toscana); $275, Buy on Vivino. Aromas of French oak, grilled porcini, menthol and baked plum take shape in the glass… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Luke Merlot
Photo Courtesy Vivino

Luke 2019 Merlot (Wahluke Slope); $25, Buy on Vivino. Weinbau fruit makes up the backbone of this wine. The aromas pull you into the glass, with notes of blue plum, raspberry, vanilla, graphite and coffeeSEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Mark Ryan Merlot
Photo Courtesy Vivino

Mark Ryan 2019 Little Sister Merlot (Columbia Valley); $80, Buy on Vivino. The goal of this wine has always been a reserve-level Merlot, and that goal is… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of Grapes of Wrath Merlot
Photo Courtesy Vivino

The Grapes of Roth 2018 Merlot (Long Island); $50, Buy on Vivino. Cohesive aromas of dark cherry, red plum, tar and clove carry to the medium-bodied palate where a warm, toasty spice embrace wraps it all up… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Bottle of The Winery at Holy Cross Merlot
Photo Courtesy Drizzly

The Winery At Holy Cross Abbey 2018 Merlot (Colorado) $28, Buy on Drizly. Rich plum and raspberry aromas are backed by leather on the nose… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW 

We Recommend:
Published on March 9, 2022
Topics: Buying Guide