10 Best Merlot Wines Under $15 (2021)

Best Merlot Under $15 Featured

Merlot is a grape that was originally grown in the fields of Bordeaux in France. With the grapes being cultivated all around the globe today, this wine has become a staple for people all over the world. A Merlot Wine is usually subtle with a smooth and velvety texture. It is a dry red wine with medium acidity and low levels of tannins. Merlot is crafted with layers of textures and flavors ranging from dark fruits to spices and graphite. Hints of vanilla and cedar are also common. Some of the best Merlot wines can empty your coffers. But you can still purchase an inexpensive bottle of Merlot without compromising on its unique flavor. Try any of these best Merlots under $15.


Best Merlot Wines Under $15

Best Overall Best Value Best From United States Best From California Best From Washington Best From South Africa Best From New Zealand Best From France Best From Chile Best From Italy
Bottle
Name J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines Los Osos Merlot Bogle Merlot Robert Mondavi Private Selection Aged in Rum Barrels Merlot Ghost Pines Merlot Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot MAN Merlot (Jan Fiskaal) Oyster Bay Merlot Les Jamelles Merlot Alcance Gran Reserva Merlot Barone Fini Merlot
Color Red Red Red Red Red Red Red Red Red Red
Country United States United States United States United States United States South Africa New Zealand France Chile Italy
Grapes Merlot Merlot Merlot Merlot Merlot Merlot Merlot Merlot Merlot Merlot
Taste Butter, Mushrooms, Cherry, Cocoa, Blackberry, Raspberry Dark Fruits, Blackberry, Chocolate, Cherry Vanilla, Caramel, Coconut, Cherry, Blackberry Dark Berries, Nutmeg, Cherries, Licorice Prunes, Oak, Black Pepper, Blackberries, Pomegranate Blackberry, Blueberry, Spice, Tobacco, Raspberry Peppercorn, Berries, Green Pepper, Licorice Caramel, Clafoutis, Cherries, Red Fruit Pepper, Vanilla, Blackberry, Raspberry, Smoke Oak, Prunes, Blackberries, Cherry, Tobacco
Food Pairing Bourbon Glazed Shrimps, BBQ Ribs, Dark Chocolate, Red Sauce Pasta, Steaks Of All Kind Rib-Eye Steak, Chocolate Desserts, Meaty Pasta, Vietnamese Food Grilled Beef, Seared Sirloin, Meat Pasta, Spicy Dishes, Smoked Pork Chop Stuffed Bell Peppers, Beef Goulash, Burgers, Meatballs Tomato-Based Pasta, Brie, Brussel Sprouts, Flat Iron Steak, Grilled Pork Chops Salsiccia Pasta, Grilled Chicken, Meatball Spaghetti, Seared Salmon Marinara Pasta, Thai Food, Indian Food, Dark Chocolate Glazed Pork, Beef Pasta, Burgers, Indian Food Roast Chicken, Lean Beef, Seared Salmon, Dark Chocolate Veal Piccata, Lamb Chops, Pepperoni Pizza
Alcohol Content 13.9% 14.5% 13.5% 14.5% 13.5% 14% 13% 13% 14.5% 13%
Sugar Content Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry
Our Rating 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5) 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5) 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5) 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5) 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5) 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5) 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
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Best Overall

  • Name — J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines Los Osos Merlot
  • Winery — J. Lohr
  • Country/Region — United States, California, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County
  • Type — Californian Merlot
  • Aroma — Black Plum, Raspberry, Hazelnut, Vanilla, Rum
  • Grapes — Merlot
  • Taste — Butter, Mushrooms, Cherry, Cocoa, Blackberry, Raspberry
  • Alcohol Content — 13.9%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Bourbon Glazed Shrimps, BBQ Ribs, Dark Chocolate, Red Sauce Pasta, Steaks Of All Kind
Overall Rating: 4.4

Positives
  • Very Velvety
  • Well-Structured
  • Lively And Bright
Negatives
  • Bit Over-Ripe

What is the best Merlot under $15? If that’s a question that frequents your mind, then your search ends with The Los Osos Merlot. This medium-dark red wine has robust aromas of spices and black plum. The subtle hint of Malbec heightens the fruity tones with refreshing flavors of hibiscus and pomegranate. This is a perfectly balanced dry red wine bound to excite your palate. There are a handful of wineries in the Monterey, Napa Valley, and Paso Robles region that can boast such flavorful and versatile wines — J. Lohr wineries is one of them.

Owning their wineries and vineyards allows them to cultivate the best grapes and manufacture premium quality wines. The dedication, experience, and passion are visible in every bottle of wine they produce. This by far the best Merlot wine under $15. Manufactured under the J. Lohr label, Los Osos Merlot is aged for 16 months in oak, bringing out the subtle flavors of oak, vanilla, and cedar. You will also taste notes of blueberry, plum, boysenberry, and raspberry. This is an extremely smooth, velvety wine with an oaky undertone.


Best Value

  • Name — Bogle Merlot
  • Winery — Bogle
  • Country/Region — United States, California
  • Type — Californian Merlot
  • Aroma — Dark Plums, Tobacco, Vanilla, Chocolate
  • Grapes — Merlot
  • Taste — Dark Fruits, Blackberry, Chocolate, Cherry
  • Alcohol Content — 14.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Rib-Eye Steak, Chocolate Desserts, Meaty Pasta, Vietnamese Food
Overall Rating: 4.2

Positives
  • Refreshing Flavors
  • Full-Bodied
  • Great Price
Negatives
  • Slightly Too Strong Aftertaste

This flavorful and charismatic wine is produced by Bogle Wineries. With over 50 years of experience in farming and wine production, the Bogle family is dedicated to manufacturing premium quality wines. From cultivating the grapes, to aging and producing the wine, Bogle wineries deliver on their promise. Bogle Merlot is a bold and silky red wine and is one of the top Merlot wines under $15.

This full-bodied wine has fresh aromas of dark plums, rich summer berries, and subtle hints of oak, vanilla, chocolate, and tobacco. Bogle Merlot has refreshing flavors of dark fruits with low levels of tannins and medium acidity. It also has subtle influences of the Cabernet Sauvignon. If you’re looking to pair this wine with foods, it goes splendidly with beef, lamb, veal, and duck.


Best From United States

  • Name — Robert Mondavi Private Selection Aged in Rum Barrels Merlot
  • Winery — Robert Mondavi
  • Country/Region — United States, California, Central Coast, Monterey County
  • Type — Californian Merlot
  • Aroma — Dates, Black Plum, Maple, Jam, Blueberry
  • Grapes — Merlot
  • Taste — Vanilla, Caramel, Coconut, Cherry, Blackberry
  • Alcohol Content — 13.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Grilled Beef, Seared Sirloin, Meat Pasta, Spicy Dishes, Smoked Pork Chop
Overall Rating: 4.4

Positives
  • Affordable
  • Balanced Flavors
  • Nice Round Mouthfeel
Negatives
  • Slightly Too Sweet

This exquisite Rum Barrels Aged Merlot produced by the Robert Mondavi Private Selection is a good Merlot under $15. The famous Robert Mondavi Private Selection sells this bottle of beautiful Merlot at a surprisingly affordable price. This bottle offers great value for money because the grapes used to make the wine are grown and cultivated on the Monterey Coast and Paso Robles. Their meticulous wine-making process ensures that the wine has rich, fruity, and robust flavors.

The wine perfectly combines the traditional wine-making with the unique “dark rum barrel aging” method, giving the Merlot an incredibly complex flavor. The grape takes to the cool weather of the coastal Mondavi vineyards expelling aromas of dates, black plum, blueberry, jam, and maple. During the wine-making process, selected lots are stored in rum barrels for aging. The Merlot is infused with flavors of dates, vanilla, and coconut. Like the other Merlots, the Mondavi Merlot is the perfect match for foods like duck, veal, beef, and lamb.


Best From California

  • Name — Ghost Pines Merlot
  • Winery — Ghost Pines
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast
  • Type — Californian Merlot
  • Aroma — Oak, Raspberry, Vanilla, Espresso
  • Grapes — Merlot
  • Taste — Dark Berries, Nutmeg, Cherries, Licorice
  • Alcohol Content — 14.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Stuffed Bell Peppers, Beef Goulash, Burgers, Meatballs
Overall Rating: 4.3

Positives
  • Fruity Flavors
  • Plush Tannins
  • Smooth Finish
Negatives
  • Tad Too Sour

If you’re looking for a top-rated Californian Merlot under $15 (besides the one from Mondavi), then Ghost Pines Merlot is a great pick for you. The Ghost Pines Winery is determined to provide the best quality wines to its customers. Ghost Pines ferment their wines under specific conditions that bring out the best qualities of the grape. A few lots are soaked in cold water to accentuate their fruity flavors, whereas other lots are stored at high temperatures to increase the jammier flavors in the wine.

This beautiful and subtle wine has lingering flavors of mocha, black cherries, and dark fruits. A full-bodied red wine with a smooth and velvety finish of spices and oak. Ghost Pines Merlot is beautifully crafted with layers of licorice, espresso, and dark berries. With the rich smooth finish of this wine, you will also taste remnants of cocoa, nutmeg, caramel, and bramble. As for the finish, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the oaky, black fruit, and creamy aftertaste.


Best From Washington

  • Name — Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot
  • Winery — Chateau Ste. Michelle
  • Country/Region — United States, Columbia Valley, Washington
  • Type — Washington State Merlot
  • Aroma — Black Cherries, Vanilla, Blackberry, Oak
  • Grapes — Merlot
  • Taste — Prunes, Oak, Black Pepper, Blackberries, Pomegranate
  • Alcohol Content — 13.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Tomato-Based Pasta, Brie, Brussel Sprouts, Flat Iron Steak, Grilled Pork Chops
Overall Rating: 4.3

Positives
  • Strong Finish
  • Inexpensive
  • Deep Aroma
Negatives
  • Tad Too Flat

The Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery crafts this splendid Merlot in a complicated yet approachable method. Created in 1912, this highly reputed winery in Washington aims to provide nothing short of the best wines to its customers and this is a top-rated Merlot for under $15. The Washington State area was initially known for manufacturing beautiful white wines. But by the 1980s, the state started producing Merlots. These wines were different from their counterparts in the Napa Valley. The Washington Merlot had flavors of blackberry, plums, and chocolate, whereas the Napa Valley wines were known to have bolder flavors of fruits.

The Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot provides sensational aromas of leather, black cherries, and spices. The wine is exquisitely crafted to taste like dark fruits such as blackberries, prunes, as well as black pepper. The wine has a lingering taste of oak and vanilla with a smooth and velvety finish. It pairs perfectly with meats like beef, lamb, veal, and grilled salmon. But avoid having the wine with highly acidic foods like tomatoes because it might ruin the taste of the wine.


Best From South Africa

  • Name — MAN Merlot (Jan Fiskaal)
  • Winery — MAN Family Wines
  • Country/Region — South Africa, Stellenbosch Region, Western Cape
  • Type — South African Merlot
  • Aroma — Cherry, Tobacco, Strawberry, Vanilla, Licorice
  • Grapes — Merlot
  • Taste — Blackberry, Blueberry, Spice, Tobacco, Raspberry
  • Alcohol Content — 14%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Salsiccia Pasta, Grilled Chicken, Meatball Spaghetti, Seared Salmon
Overall Rating: 4.0

Positives
  • Smooth Flavors
  • Inexpensive
  • Velvety Finish
Negatives
  • Slightly Flat

Among the top ten wine-producing regions across the globe, South African wine production has only been taken seriously relatively recently. MAN is a vibrant young winery that aims to deliver sophisticated and modern wines. Established by Tyrrel and Philip Myburgh of Joostenberg wines along with Jose Conde of Stark-Conde Wines, MAN Family Wines uses a dry-farming method to give their grapes an intense flavor. Their passion for wines is evident in their sustainable methods and commitment to high-quality and well-balanced wines.

South African Merlots are typically grown in the second oldest coastal region in South Africa, the Stellenbosch coastal region. The MAN Merlot has smooth tannins with the color of dark ruby. The wine gives off beautiful aromas of dark plums, spices, and cherries. This Merlot has intense flavors of red berries, cigar boxes, and mocha, followed by a smooth and toasty finish.


Best From New Zealand

  • Name — Oyster Bay Merlot
  • Winery — Oyster Bay
  • Country/Region — New Zealand, Hawke’s Bay, North Island
  • Type — New Zealand Merlot
  • Aroma — Red Cherry, Spicye, Plums, Jam, Oak, Vanilla
  • Grapes — Merlot
  • Taste — Peppercorn, Berries, Green Pepper, Licorice
  • Alcohol Content — 13%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Marinara Pasta, Thai Food, Indian Food, Dark Chocolate
Overall Rating: 4.1

Positives
  • Soft Tannins
  • Smooth Finish
  • Very Light
Negatives
  • Slightly Bitter Finish

The best place to grow Merlots is in warmer regions. And that’s exactly what Oyster Bay Wines did by growing Merlot at Hawke’s Bay. The Merlot grape that grows there produces a wine that is soft, versatile, and fragrant. Hawke’s Bay Merlot recently won gold at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.

Oyster Bay Merlot is fermented in French oak barrels, giving the Merlot a beautiful freshness and quaint taste of fruits, soft tannins, and spices. Bold flavors of red cherry, plums, and spicy aromas along with a long, smooth, and silky finish make this Merlot a complex yet delightfully pleasant wine. It is a slightly spicy wine with lingering tastes of peppercorn, green peppers, licorice, and berries.


Best From France

  • Name — Les Jamelles Merlot
  • Winery — Les Jamelles
  • Country/Region — France, Vin de Pays, Pays d’Oc
  • Type — French Merlot
  • Aroma — Chocolate, Vanilla, Oak, Black Fruits
  • Grapes — Merlot
  • Taste — Caramel, Clafoutis, Cherries, Red Fruit
  • Alcohol Content — 13%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Glazed Pork, Beef Pasta, Burgers, Indian Food
Overall Rating: 4.1

Positives
  • Inexpensive
  • Subtle Flavors
  • Smooth Finish
Negatives
  • Slightly Too Sweet

The Languedoc-Roussillon Les Jamelles Merlot is one of the most popular Merlots out there. The wine is manufactured in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the South of France that is home to grapes like Cabernet, Mourvedre, Grenache, and Merlot. Known to be the largest wine-producing area in the world, this region accounts for close to 1/3rd of the country’s wine production. The Languedoc-Roussillon region has been known to provide cheap wines in the past, with many wineries such as the Les Jamelles producing wines that are inexpensive yet of high quality.

Les Jamelles Merlot is known to be a fruity, complex, and versatile wine. A unique characteristic of this wine is that it can be paired with all kinds of cuisines.With a charismatic red hue, Les Jamelles Merlot exhibits flavors of ripe fruits like strawberries and cherries. Its subtle flavors of caramel and clafoutis combined with rapturous aromas of black fruits, chocolates, oak, and vanilla create a unique balance.


Best From Chile

  • Name — Alcance Gran Reserva Merlot
  • Winery — Alcance
  • Country/Region — Chile, Central Valley
  • Type — Chilean Merlot
  • Aroma — Black Fruit, Oak, Vanilla, Herbs
  • Grapes — Merlot
  • Taste — Pepper, Vanilla, Blackberry, Raspberry, Smoke
  • Alcohol Content — 14.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Roast Chicken, Lean Beef, Seared Salmon, Dark Chocolate
Overall Rating: 4.3

Positives
  • Well-Balanced
  • Smooth
  • Lovely Color
Negatives
  • A Bit Too Spicy

One of the most commonly produced wines in South American Countries is Merlot. Alcance Merlot is grown in the Maule Valley, which is known for high-quality Merlots in Chile. This intense and spicy grape adds to Chile’s reputation for creating high-quality and inexpensive wines. Maule’s mild climate combined with porous soils where Merlot is grown grants the grapes their weighty and unique flavor.

The Alcance Merlot features an intense color, courtesy of the red granite soil in which the grape is cultivated. It has intense aromas of black fruits like blackberries and plums and lingering aromas of oak and vanilla. The taste of raspberries, pepper, and vanilla is at the forefront. It also consists of medium tannins with a long and smooth finish.


Best From Italy

  • Name — Barone Fini Merlot
  • Winery — Barone Fini
  • Country/Region — Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Trentino
  • Type — Italian Merlot
  • Aroma — Ripe Cherries, Plums, White Pepper, Prunes
  • Grapes — Merlot
  • Taste — Oak, Prunes, Blackberries, Cherry, Tobacco
  • Alcohol Content — 13%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Veal Piccata, Lamb Chops, Pepperoni Pizza
Overall Rating: 4.2

Positives
  • Smooth Finish
  • Pocket-Friendly
  • Well-balanced
Negatives
  • Bit Too Acidic

The Barone Fini Merlot is made in the style of Northern Italy red wine. The grapes are hand-harvested from Lake Garda’s northern banks. Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy and is surrounded by mountains that provide the perfect terrain for cultivating flavorful Merlot.

Committing to maintaining the highest wine-making standards, Barone Fini’s wines are brewed in a very modern winery with minimal human skin contact. Barone Fini has been a staple name in Italy for the best quality Merlots since 1975. Barone Fini Merlot offers bold flavors of cherry, prunes, oak, blackberries, and tobacco. It also features beautiful aromas of cherry, leather, and prunes. The wine climaxes with a long, smooth, and velvety finish.

Conclusion

There are wide varieties of Merlots available in the market, and choosing one that’s affordable yet flavorful can get tricky. Although this list of the best inexpensive Merlotsdoes not cover all Merlots, it can be a starting point for you to go on a journey discovering Merlots without breaking the bank!

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