The success of Sideways has turned the user-friendly merlot grape into a bit of a joke. With all the scramble toward the elusive pinot noir, humble merlot gets left in the dust and is seen as unfashionable.
Merlot doesn’t have to be that cheap bottle in the grocery store. Especially when combined with other grapes, merlot can be a worthwhile red. Cakebread’s 2002 Merlot has the fruity friendliness associated with most merlots but has a deeper color and a more multi-layered slightly spicy layer to it (perhaps that the 7% cabernet sauvignon grapes added in).
Priced at around $50 per bottle, it can be aged but is also ready to drink now.