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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.
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
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 process… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
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 coffee… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
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