So all I really know about Merlot is that some character in the movie Sideways (which I've never seen, incidentally) really hated it and loved Pinot noir (a varietal which, incidentally, is a favorite of my wine-loving co-workers). Wanting to learn more, I did a little googling and found this article which does a nice job of contrasting the two styles. Much to my surprise, I learned that Merlot is actually the bigger, heartier wine. I guess, coming from the world of beer where bigger is generally considered better, I was expecting the opposite. You learn something new every day, I suppose...
Anyway, on to the wine. Today we busted out a bottle of Meridian Merlot, which--if I recall correctly--was on sale for $4.99 (regularly $10.99). These are the kinds of deals I shoot for! It poured a murky, bloody deep burgundy color. It definitely had some legs (as I learned during a wine tasting a few years ago) and seemed rather thick and inky.
The aroma was one of muted sweetness, if that makes sense. I guess stone fruit dominated, but I wasn't picking up much spiciness otherwise. Not bad, though not terribly complex.
The taste was as thick as it appeared. I can't really explain it, but it felt heavy in my mouth. There was a nice sweetness up front--grape and cherry notes with a slight earthiness that was balanced by just enough mouth-drying tannins. It finished dry, which kept this from being sweet. No acidic notes I've noticed from other reds and most whites... in that sense I guess it's kind of simple. There was a slight oakiness to the finish.
Overall, I liked it. While the flavor wasn't terribly multi-dimensional, what was there was bold. It was strong enough to stand up to whatever you eat with it without becoming distracting. I guess in that sense it was kind of like the Ramones... Loud but still straightforward. Personally, I really enjoyed it, Sideways be damned. On the patented Chibebräu Wine scale (skip it, only if it's on sale, or buy it again), I would rate this one a buy it again.