My wife and I fell off the Merlot bandwagon many years ago, after Merlot started to become "the" wine to serve in every bar around. A plethora of undrinkable plonk started hitting the market and we wanted nothing to do with it.

Well, this find at Costco the other day has changed our minds. This Maipo Valley, Chilean beauty is one of the best values we have found under 10 bucks in a long time.  The nose immediately reminds one of chocolate with a hint of coffee. It has a dense, ruby red color that leaves that tint on the glass much like a big Chianti does. Once in the mouth one tastes traces of vanilla, with a characteristicly spicey Merlot finish.  Tannins are there, but not overwhelming.  This is a great wine to serve for those fall cocktail party guests – it won’t break the bank – or for yourself while figuring out what to do for dinner later on.

$8.99 at Costco and $9.99 at Goody Goody.