Ever since the 1997 movie Sideways, Merlot has suffered a serious identity crisis. Paul Giamatti’s character Miles single-handedly depressed the market for this classic grape when he colorfully proclaimed his hatred — apparently his ex-wife liked Merlot — declaring, "If anyone orders merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any f***ing merlot!" Which is sad, as it is a remarkable variety, producing structurally lighter wines with elegance, subtlety and intoxicating smoky, spicy flavors – with the proper treatment and restraint. So, we’re doing our part to bring back Merlot by showcasing some killer clean, affordable (and oak-free) examples, like these two babies here. We think you’ll Mer-love them, especially with a nice meal.