The Best Mid-Range Merlots

For $15 to $25, you can get the best-kept secret producers of merlot

I often say that the sweet spot for wine falls roughly in the $15 to $25 range. In this range, you can find producers who are out of favor, undiscovered, or working in regions that, for some reason, lack prestige yet produce wines that are equal to bottlings priced at double or triple.

I have also been touting the comeback of merlot for some time. In truth, there are many great values out there, but this tasting does highlight at least one of the pitfalls that face wine consumers today. Frankly, some producers do not need to raise the quality or change the style of their wines. They are doing fine with what they produce and pleasing consumers, if not critics.

That puts me in a bit of a sticky position. It’s no secret that my tastes run somewhat counter to fruit-forward, popularly styled wines. I like a little bite in my wines and favor complexity over intensity of fruit. Fortunately for all involved, today we have both styles of merlot. Gobstoppers for the fruit-forward crowd, plus a fine selection of otherwise interesting wines that please palates like mine. This dichotomy is just another reason for my new wine reviewing system, which I will explain in more detail on the next slide. I hope to be able to better serve you, the reader, by giving more simplified recommendations that are easy to understand while continuing to review each wine as honestly as my palate allows.

Click to find the best value merlots between $15 and $25. 

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— Gregory Del Piaz, Snooth