Tracy Byrnes Headshot

It's Wine With Me columnist and FOX Business anchor Tracy Byrnes here, and to me, Merlot is like the Robert Downey Jr. of grapes. 

It was totally famous in the 1990s thanks to that 60 Minutes French Paradox report that said French people have a lower incident of coronary heart diseases. Since Merlot is the most widely planted grape in the Bordeaux region of France, Merlot sales spiked.

Then came the 2004 movie Sideways. In it, the main character, Miles Raymond says "if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any BLEEPing Merlot!"

And Merlot sales fell.

Ah, but it's back. And so is Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, Master of Wine and co-author of Pairing with the Masters Pairing with the Masters: A Definitive Guide to Food and Wine.

So consider this your 50 Shades of Merlot. Merlot is so versatile because it falls in that sweet spot between Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir - not as "big" as a cab - and not as potentially fruity as a Pinot. Yum.

Merlot

No surprise, Jen brought some wines:

2013 merlot from Bordeaux -- $8!
2010 merlot from Bordeaux -- $20
2010 California Merlot -- $20
2005 Merlot from Bordeaux -- $200 -- to taste for aging purposes.

Oh, and she also brought a tea bag and a little bag of dirt.

Intrigued? Good! Listen:

(And here's a little wine trivia for you: Miles' most prized wine in that movie? 1961 Cheval Blanc -- a Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Merlot blend! Ha! Yep!)

Cent' Anni.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions send them along to @tracybyrnes or tracy.byrnes@foxbusiness.com.

For all my Wine With Me podcasts, just go to https://radio.foxnews.com/winewithme.