1997 Pepperwood Grove Merlot, California ($9).
This is not a connoisseur's wine but a wine for the masses. Complex and full-bodied, it's not. It's merely a light merlot with a soft texture, generous fruit and straightforward charm. It's not what some of us snobs would serve at a fancy-schmancy dinner party, but Pepperwood Grove has done a fine job of producing an uncomplicated wine at a reasonable price. In a world of overpriced merlots, this one offers fair value.