Under $15, with 14% alcohol, the 2001 Prince Mircea Merlot Trease Danubiane from theVanju Mare section of Romania scored a pleasant 16 points on the 20-point Dionysian scale.

The Merlot was silky smooth. I did not decant the 19 year old wine and only a speck of sediment was found in the final glass. Blueberry and tree fruits were in the nose. Very soft tannins lingered to a medium finish. I brought the wine back with me from Romania when I went to check out the wines there, (all modern and well made) and the wines next door in Bulgaria (where work still needs to be done.)

Served with a summer meatloaf filled with carrots and onions. It was a very enjoyable match.

The color hadn’t faded at all; still deep garnet. There are so many good Merlot wines around the world that it’s just crazy to pay a fortune for any of them. Seek out Best Buys. In Vino Veritas.