27 Best Merlots under $75 (CA) (2022)

By Wesley Cable

By Wesley Cable

Last Updated: October 6, 2022

We all know that Merlot gets a bad rap. It’s the butt of every wine joke and is often seen as a bit of an inferior grape. But we’re here to set the record straight – Merlot is amazing! Not only is it one of the most popular red wines in the world, but it also happens to be incredibly versatile and easy to drink. Some people look at Merlot as just a good blending grape blended to make high quality Cabernet Sauvignon, but Merlot sales are on the rise.

We all know that Merlot gets a bad rap. It’s the butt of every wine joke and is often seen as a bit of an inferior grape. But we’re here to set the record straight – Merlot is amazing! Not only is it one of the most popular red wines in the world, but it also happens to be incredibly versatile and easy to drink. Some people look at Merlot as just a good blending grape blended to make high quality Cabernet Sauvignon, but Merlot sales are on the rise.

If you’re looking for a delicious California Merlot that won’t break the bank, look no further! We’ve compiled a list of 27 of the best merlots produced in California that are all priced under $75. So, whether you’re planning a special dinner party or just stocking your wine cellar, these Merlots are sure to please. At the end of this list, you can find my personal top three.

Here is the list of 27 Best Merlots from California under $75 (2022)

OUR PICK: BEST CA MERLOT UNDER $75

The Best Merlot under $75 made in CA.   Paradigm Merlot

Paradigm Merlot

Paradigm is a winery located in Oakville and owned by Ren and Marylyn Harris. Paradigm wines have been made by winemaker Heidi Barrett since their initial vintage.

Paradigm Merlot is an great wine, with fruity aromas of black cherry, raspberry, and spice.

Tasting Notes: On the palate, it’s full-bodied and structured with flavors of dark ripe fruit and the influence of French oak barrels. It has firm tannins and a long finish.

This wine contains 10% Cabernet sauvignon and has nice acidity.

Buy this Wine

1 – Rombauer Merlot

Rombauer Vineyards is one of the most respected producers of Napa Valley Merlot in California. This is an approachable, rich merlot and a very good red wine for the price.

Tasting Notes: The Rombauer Merlot is a classic example of the grape, with rich aromas of blackberry, ripe plum, and spice. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and velvety, with ripe tannins, and flavors of dark cherry and cocoa. It’s well-balanced and has a long, smooth finish.

A wine enthusiast friend of mine who collects fine wines says the only Merlot wine he drinks is Rombauer Merlot. He says it’s because it has an endless number of good food pairings. It is one of the best merlots I have had.

If you want to hear Rombauer Vineyards VP of Winemaking and Viticulture Richie Allen talk about what makes Rombauer wines so special, click here.

Price: $43

2 – Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot

Duckhorn Vineyards is another top producer of California Merlot. The 2014 Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot won the top spot in Wine Spectator’s top 100 wines of 2017. This Duckhorn Merlot is a beautifully crafted wine reminiscent of a good French Merlot.

Tasting Notes: The wine has aromas of black cherry, chocolate, candied violets, and vanilla. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and silky, with flavors of blackberry, plum, and mocha. It has balanced acidity and a long, elegant finish.

Price: $53

3 – Stags Leap Winery Merlot

Stags Leap Winery is a renowned producer of Cabernet Sauvignon, but their approachable Merlot is also excellent.

Tasting Notes: The Stags Leap Merlot is a complex wine, with aromas of blackberry, cassis, spice, and some chocolate notes. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and structured, with flavors of dark fruits and oak. It has firm tannins and a long, lingering finish. Like a lot of the best Merlot wines, this one pairs well with grilled meats.

Price: $29

4 – Peju Winery Merlot

Peju is a family-owned winery located in Rutherford, CA. The Peju Merlot is a lovely red wine made from fine merlot grapes. This is one of the best merlots made in California.

Tasting Notes: It has aromas of dark fruit, raspberry, and spice. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and fruit-forward, with soft tannins and flavors of black cherries, plum, and some vanilla. It has good acidity and a long finish.

Price: $43

5 – Hourglass Blueline Estate Merlot

Hourglass is not as well-known as some of the others on this list, but their wines are amazing! Unfortunately, Hourglass suffered significant wildfire damage and had been closed to visitors for a while. They have since re-opened and are welcoming guests to taste their wine for $125, but the tasting fee can be waived with a wine purchase of three bottles of wine. Hourglass is Located in the Stags Leap District.

Tasting Notes: The Hourglass Merlot is a beautifully crafted fleshier wine, with aromas of blackberry, cassis, and spice. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and structured due to being blended with other wine grapes including Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, with black fruit flavors and some oak notes from spending 17 months in French Oak Barrels. It has firm tannins and a long finish.

This is one of my favorite Merlot wines because of the intensity of the fruit flavors that come from Merlot grown in this area of the valley.

Price: $75

6 – Keenan Mailbox Vineyard Reserve Merlot

Keenan is located in the Spring Mountain District of Napa. The Keenan Merlot is an excellent Napa Valley Merlot and a great representation of the Merlot grape.

Tasting Notes: Aromas of dark fruit, plum, and some red fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s a full-bodied wine with velvety tannins, and flavors of dark fruits and cocoa. It’s well-balanced and has a long finish.

Price: $48

7 – Chappellet Merlot

Chappellet is located in St. Helena, CA and famous for their award-winning red wine.

Tasting Notes: The Chappellet Merlot is a fine wine, with aromas of dark fruit and some raspberry aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and fruit-forward, with flavors of plum, red fruit, chocolate, and vanilla. It has balanced acidity and a long finish.

Price: $50

8 – O’ Shaughnessy Merlot

O’Shaughnessy is a family-owned winery located in the hills above St. Helena, CA, one of my favorite wine regions.

Tasting Notes: The O’Shaughnessy Merlot is a beautiful red wine, with aromas of blackberry, cassis, and leather. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and structured, with silky tannins and flavors of dark fruits and oak.

This is in my top 5 best merlot wines so if you haven’t had it yet, you need to get some!

Price: $72

9 – Silverado Vineyards Mt. George Vineyard Merlot

Silverado Vineyards is a family-owned winery located in the Stags Leap District in Napa, CA.

Tasting Notes: The Silverado Merlot is a complex wine, with aromas of blackberry, plum, and spice. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and structured, and earthy, with red fruit flavors, flavors of dark fruits and some oak. It has firm tannins and a long finish.

Price: $39

10 – Raymond Vineyards Reserve Selection Merlot

Raymond Vineyards is located in St. Helena, CA off the beautiful Zinfandel Lane.

Tasting Notes: The Raymond Reserve Selection Merlot is an excellent wine that really brings out the characteristics of the Merlot grape, with aromas of blackberry, plum, licorice, and some baking spice. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and velvety, with flavors of dark fruits and cocoa. It’s well-balanced and has a long finish.

Price: $57

11 – PlumpJack Merlot

PlumpJack is located in the Oakville region of Napa and is known for its Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tasting Notes: The 2016 PlumpJack Merlot is an excellent red wine, with aromas of black cherry, raspberry, and other red fruit. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and fruit-forward, with flavors of plum, chocolate, and vanilla.

For the money, this is one of the best merlot wines made in California in my opinion.

Price: $64

12 – Cakebread Merlot

Cakebread is another family-owned winery located in Rutherford, CA. Cakebread is known for their complex red wines and luscious Chardonnay. This wine is a good example of what Merlot Grapes can do.

Tasting Notes: The Cakebread Merlot is a nice Merlot, with aromas of black cherry, red fruits, and some spice. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and fruit-forward, with flavors of juicy black fruits, plum, chocolate, leather, and vanilla.

Price: $49

13 – Clos Du Val Merlot

Clos Du Val is located in Stags Leap District, in Napa which is known for its red wines inspired by the Bordeaux region in France. They make some of my favorite wines including an amazing Estate Cabernet Franc.

Tasting Notes: The Clos Du Val Merlot is a beautiful merlot wine, with aromas of blackberry, cassis, and some baking spice. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and structured, with flavors of red fruits, raspberry, clove, and oak. It has firm tannins and a fresh finish.

Price: $42

14 – Frog’s Leap Merlot

Frog’s Leap is a winery located in Rutherford, CA who gets its name because the property used to be a frog farm who raised frogs for the restaurant business.

Tasting Notes: The Frog’s Leap Merlot is an excellent dry wine, with aromas of black fruits, and plum, with a hint of spice. On the palate, it’s a full-bodied wine with velvety tannins and flavors of dark fruits and cocoa. It’s well-balanced and has a long finish.

Price: $45

15 – Grgich Hills Estate Merlot

Grgich Hills Estate is a historical winery located in Rutherford, CA that is known for its red wines and famous Chardonnay.

Tasting Notes: The Grgich Hills Estate Merlot is an amazing wine reminiscent of the wines made in the Bordeaux region in France. This Merlot has distinct aromas of ripe black cherry and raspberry. On the palate, this wine is full-bodied and beautifully structured, with flavors of dark fruits, plum, cedar, and oak. It has firm tannins and a long finish.

Price: $37

16 – Trefethen Merlot

Trefethen is a family-owned winery located in Napa, CA.

Tasting Notes: The Trefethen Merlot is a complex wine made from excellent Merlot Grapes, with aromas of blackberry and cassis. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and structured, with flavors of dark fruits and French oak. It has firm tannins, balanced acidity, and a nice finish.

Price: $38

17 – Rutherford Hill Merlot

Rutherford Hill is a winery located in Rutherford, CA. The Rutherford AVA is home to some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon made in the world but also produces a complex merlot wine.

Tasting Notes: The Rutherford Hill Merlot is an excellent wine, with strong aromas of blackberry, plum, strawberry, and cherry. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and earthy, with flavors of dark fruits, sweet tobacco, and cocoa.

Price: $27

18 – Whitehall Lane Merlot

Whitehall Lane is a family-owned winery located in Stags Leap District, in Napa, CA.

Tasting Notes: The Whitehall Lane Merlot is a fresh-tasting Merlot wine, with aromas of blueberries, black cherry, raspberry, and some spice. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and structured, with flavors of black fruits, bramble berry, and a touch of oak. It has firm tannins and a very long finish.

Price: $30

19 – Textbook Merlot

Textbook is another winery located in Rutherford, CA. At $23 per bottle, some might assume this is a starter wine but trust me, it’s nice and complex.

Tasting Notes: The Textbook Merlot wine is an excellent example of what Merlot can become, with aromas of blueberry, plum, cherry, and spice. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and velvety, with flavors of dark fruits, leather, and cocoa. It’s well-balanced with soft tannins.

Price: $23

20 – Provenance Merlot

Provenance is a winery located in Rutherford, in the Napa Valley.

Tasting Notes: The 2017 Provenance Merlot is an excellent wine, with aromas of bing cherry, and black current. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and fruit-forward, with flavors of ripe blackberry, plum, chocolate, leather, and vanilla.

Price: $25

21 – Oberon Merlot

Oberon is a family-owned winery located in Rutherford, Napa Valley.

Tasting Notes: The Oberon Merlot wine, has aromas of blackberry, pepper, smoke, and some vanilla. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and velvety, with flavors of dark fruits and cocoa. It has balanced acidity and has a nice long finish.

Price: $23

22 – Regusci Merlot

Regusci has been farmed by the same family for five generations since they came over from Italy where they make some of the best old-world wines. Regusci is located in Stags Leap District, right off the Silverado Trail.

Tasting Notes: The Regusci Merlot is one of the best merlot wines I have tried, with aromas of black cherry, cigar and raspberry. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and structured with flavors of ripe dark fruits and chocolate with a hint of black pepper. It has firm tannins and a long finish.

Price: $65

23 – Wente Vineyards Sandstone Merlot

Wente Vineyards has been family-owned since 1883 and is certified sustainable. The winery located in Livermore, California.

Tasting Notes: The Wente Vineyards Sandstone Merlot is an excellent wine, with aromas of blackberry, plum, and spice. On the palate, it’s full-bodied with velvety tannins, and dark fruit flavors and dark chocolate. It’s well-balanced and has a long finish.

In a blind tasting, this wine performed much better than its price point. People are starting to see that Livermore is establishing itself as one of the better wine regions in California.

Price: $16

24 – Paradigm Merlot

Paradigm is a winery located in Oakville and owned by Ren and Marylyn Harris. Paradigm wines have been made by winemaker Heidi Barrett since their initial vintage. Paradigm Merlot is an great wine, with fruity aromas of black cherry, raspberry, and spice.

Tasting Notes: On the palate, it’s full-bodied and structured with flavors of dark ripe fruit and the influence of French oak barrels. It has firm tannins and a long finish. This wine contains 10% Cabernet sauvignon and has nice acidity.

In my opinion, this is one of the best Merlot wines for the price. Paradigm also makes a great Cabernet Franc if you can get it before it sells out.

To hear Director of Sales and Hospitality from Paradigm, Mary Ann Turrentine, talk about what makes owners Ren and Marily Harris so great and what kind of winemaker Heidi Barrett is, click here.

Price: $62

25 – Flora Springs Merlot

Flora Springs is a family-owned winery located in St. Helena, Napa Valley.

Tasting Notes: The Flora Springs Merlot is a complex wine, with aromas of soft cherry, plum, and wilted roses. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and velvety with flavors of dark fruits, cherry pie, and cinnamon.

Price: $30

26 – Hall Merlot

Hall is a family-owned winery located in St. Helena, Napa Valley. Hall is famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon which is its best wine. It’s also known for the giant silver bunny that dons the front of the property in St. Helena. Their merlot is quite nice also reminiscent of wines that come from warm climates.

Tasting Notes: The Hall Merlot is an excellent wine, with aromas of mocha, plum, and tobacco. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and smooth with flavors of dark fruits, black cherry, blackcurrant, and cocoa. It’s well-balanced and has a nice long finish.

Price: $38

27 – Charles Krug Merlot

Charles Krug is a family-owned winery located in St. Helena, CA. Charles Krug is famous for being one of the oldest wineries in the Napa Valley and it’s still owned by the Mondavi Family.

Tasting Notes: The Charles Krug Merlot is a nice wine, with aromas of blueberry, blackberry, plum, and some baking spice. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and velvety with flavors of black fruits, black cherry, cherry, and cocoa. It’s well-balanced and has a long finish.

Price: $22

My Take

Creating this list was difficult because there are so many great Merlots being made in California. There are a lot of wines that didn’t make this list so someday I might decide to grow the list to 50 or more. Of course, this list also doesn’t touch on the amazing Merlot being made in France or other parts of the world so I may need to make a new list. Here is my personal top three Merlot Wine made in California:

3 – Regusci Merlot

2 – Rombauer Merlot

1 – Paradigm Merlot

Paradigm is the best Merlot made in California in my opinion. If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing this wine, you owe it to yourself to try it.

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIn

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

On Key

Related Posts

77 Best Man Cave Ideas (2022)

Nothing is more exciting than building your own man cave. I created this exhaustive list of the 77 best man cave ideas to help you