Merlot is hated due to its infamy from the movie Sideways released in 2004. Sideways is Paul Giamatti's breakout film about two friends who take a trip through wine country. Paul Giamatti's character vocally hates Merlot because he thinks that it tastes bland and that the American market is oversaturated with it.
Dry red wines are super-popular among wine drinkers as they can be paired with a variety of foods, and offers a great sensory experience while drinking! Additionally, dry red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Shiraz or Syrah, Merlot, and Zinfandel are widely used for cooking too (just like dry white wine.)