If you haven’t seen it already, check out Michael Steinberger’ pro-Merlot (when done well of course) story for Slate.com titled Defending Merlot — It’s Not Always Bad.

I drink merlot a lot…I admit it. But, almost never from California. As Steinberger says, they are often (usually? always?) overripe and almost never good values. I drink a lot of…drumroll please…Long Island merlot. I know, you’re floored right now and can’t believe it.

Our cooler climate leads to a slow, steady ripening curve, mature tannins without losing fruit forwardness and leaving a touch of acidity. In the hands of our better winemakers…good (and sometimes great) wines are the result. This is not the innocuous merlot  you can pick up for ten bucks at your local wine shop.

The Lenz Winery’s 2000 Merlot even made it into the story…nicely done. "Good with food" is something I see a lot when "experts" taste Long Island reds…