Merlot holds its own

If you are a fan of merlot, you may have been feeling a little left out of the wine buzz. "Maybe you feel your preferences are a little outdated, and that you should be drinking something a bit more upscale, a little harder to pronounce, a tad more nuanced," writes Richard Fadeley. But you can relax, he says. Merlot is America's most popular wine. His panel recent held a blind tasting of 15 merlots. Here are the results.

Courtney Benham

Courtney Benham 2013 "Unoaked" Santa Barbara County Chardonnay ($10.99)

Transparent straw color with bright glints. Appetizing fresh, ripe apple aromas, Clean Chardonnay character without the usual overlay of oak. (Oak doesn't have to be a bad thing, but in this wine, the purity of the fruit is appealing.) Crisp and dry, fresh apple flavors follow the nose, with an intriguing hint of stony minerality lurking shyly in the background. Good Chardonnay, good food wine.

More about this wine

Vino e Cucina d'Italia

White Sangiovese - it does exist

Ever heard of a white Sangiovese? Sangiovese is a red wine grape, but Neil Duarte found a small winery near Siena making a white wine from this iconic red grape. And, he reports, a very excellent white wine it is. Here's his report.