It’s time to settle this once and for all: Merlot is not a subpar grape variety and yes, you should be drinking it. After the Sideways Effect of 2004, Merlot went through some serious trauma, thanks to Paul Giamatti’s character’s snobby Merlot-based remarks. However, Merlot is responsible for making some of the best wines in the world, including famed Right Bank Bordeaux blends and some serious varietal wines from California and Washington. In fact, Merlot is the second most-widely planted grape variety in the world. Learn more about this noble grape variety from our illustrated guide below.

An Illustrated Guide to Merlot