For some reason, Merlots seem to be expensive. Oddly, I can find better deals on Cabernet Sauvignon. As a result, the four I'm going to recommend are all right on the edge of my price limit: $24-$25.00. Merlots are dark, rich, luscious, and fruity. Not generally a summer wine, but then I've never been a traditionalist. Here we go:
1. Whitehall Lane Merlot; California; $24.00. My favorite in this category. Very nice fruit with blackberry and cherry dominating. Dark, rich color, aromatic bouquet of blackberry, currants, and cherry. Nice tanins.
2. Franciscan; California; $24.00; Similar to the Whitehall Lane. In fact the whitehall Lane pretty much describes all of the wines I recommend in this category.
3. Franciscan Oakville Estates; California; $25.00. Same winery, different label.
4. Sterling Merlot (the one with the silver label); California; $25.00