Everyone Hates Merlot?

The Merlot grape was riding high. So popular in American restaurants that it made a special guest appearance on ‘Seinfeld’ in the 90’s, Merlot was the default ‘wine by the glass’ for casual drinkers and more serious bottlings commanded high prices on the collectors market.

Then, in 2003, a movie was released...

‘Sideways’ followed the adventure of two foolish friends- and one of them thought he knew about wine.

A (very funny) hostility towards Merlot becomes apparent throughout the film, and the catchphrase ‘I am NOT drinking any f***king Merlot’ became a part of popular culture. Merlot sales in the United States plunged. Almost overnight Merlot dropped well out of fashion with casual drinkers, and was derisively referred to as ‘a blending grape’ by people who should have known better. 

Merlot vines were ripped out, and replaced with more popular varietals in new world wineries while the producers of the Bordeaux region looked on and laughed. They knew the value that Merlot brought to their wines. A rich mouth feel, soft fruit and an easygoing quality that shows well without long aging in the cellar are hallmarks of Merlot. 

These days, there’s generally more Merlot than ever in a bottle of Bordeaux- and Merlot still makes an excellent choice for casual wine drinkers and aficionados as well. Not everyone can afford a bottle of Cheval Blanc- but there’s plenty of dynamite Merlot out there. Go get some!

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