I have no beef with Merlot or any other wine-fodder grape. Not sure what Paul Giamatti character’s issue was in the movie “Sideways.” Chalk it up to the picky fussbudget element of wine culture. I’ll drink pretty much any wine offered to me—and often enjoy it.
It’s not as if I’ve been overjoyed with every glass of wine I’ve ever consumed. Far from it. Too bitter, too sweet, too dry, too tannic, too fruity, too heavy, etc—some qualities ruin the wine-drinking experience for me. But it’s not as if I can associate these qualities with any type of grape, or any country or state of origin, or any vintner—or any other theme that would cause me to not request or purchase a particular wine again in the future.
The French didn’t invent wine, of course, but it seems they invented today’s hyper-analytic, hyper-anal wine culture. Their notion of “terroir” as wine’s mysterious gustatory differentiator seems t o me a clever way to brand their nation’s particular geography as the optimal wine-cultivation territory. I notice that the European Union has attempted to apply a diluted variant of “terroir”—origin-based branding--to wine and other consumables traditionally associated with those countries. Hence, “champagne” is only the stuff produced in and around Champagne, France; “cheddar cheese” only the milk processed in a certain method for that purpose around Cheddar, England UK; and so on.
All of this is a naked attempt by this nation-bloc to favor their domestic producers—and t hereby jack up their prices--by adding to some bogus snob appeal to their various, sundry, sordid, and assorted wares.