This one's a concentrated wine, smooth and round in structure, with a lingering finish, and ample integrated tannins suggests a wine with great aging potential. The aroma is a medley of raspberry, strawberry, black currant, and cassis highlighted by smoky bacon and a touch of mint. Ripe fruit flavors of raspberry, strawberry, and cherry are complemented by toasty oak and vanilla. 75% Merlot, 11% cabernet sauvignon, 9% petit verdot and 5% cabernet franc. 90(+?) points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Saturated, deep ruby-red. Aromas of black cherry, strawberry and minerals. Juicy, tightly wound and high-pitched, with perfumed flavors of black raspberry, blueberry, violet and pipe tobacco, along with a cooler suggestion of menthol. Quite backward today and less obviously ripe than Duckhorn's estate merlot, but offers considerable promise. Finishes with very firm tannins and lingering notes of black fruits and violet. An impressive set of 2002 merlots." (May/June 05) 93 points Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine: "This chunky, tannin-laced wine teases with touches of orange-rind, briary spice and cassis while taking ripe-cherries as its central motif. It too is fairly full on the palate and sports a considerable impression of extract, but it is presently closed out by hard-charging astringency and could do with a rest of five or more years." (11/05)
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