I thought I'd try Red Bicyclette's 2004 Merlot this time, for two reasons: 1. Merlot is an extremely versatile wine, which makes it perfect for the holidays, and 2. I took pity, because the label's a total cross-section of horse manure. It looks like a colored pencil schematic of a character straight out of The Beatles' Yellow Submarine-he's riding a bike, moth-eaten dog in tow, with an ominously oversize bag in his basket. The bag could be full of either wine or black-tar heroin, for all we know; such is the noncommittal nature of the whole miserable drawing. Wow.
But Red Bicyclette is French, after all, and France is the top per-capita wine producer in the world (until 2010, when we're expected to overtake it). Accordingly, this little number isn't half bad. It's a Merlot, for sure, all deep red and wet and fruity and crazy with that acidic aftertaste, the kind that pairs with select cheeses and meats. The bonus is that that aftertaste stays with you a while, coloring your memory of holiday dinner and the Detroit Lions' usual loss in their annual Thanksgiving game. You sort of get to drown your sorrows by default amid the instant replay in your head, a phenomenon that defines the Lions most every year.
Red Bicyclette's 2004 Merlot is a pretty good deal at $7.99 wherever wine is sold. It's also a conversation piece because of the label alone. Let me thus propose a toast to the guy on the bike and to his would-be animators, who'd do well to place a sinkhole just ahead in the next frame.