The least accessible of Duckhorn's Merlot lineup is shut down now by strong, astringent tannins and firm acids. Letting it breathe reveals a fabulous core of ripe cherry and raspberry fruit that is so intense, it's like Framboise. Utterly good, almost gooey in sheer flavor. Will age for a very long time, and best to decant many hours in advance.
Well-focused on a center of ripe currant, plum and blackberry, with hints of clayish earth, lead pencil, mocha and anise folded in, giving it added flavor dimension and a long, detailed aftertaste that's a cut above most Merlots. Ample tannins for cellaring; to drink now, decant. (JL)
The 1999 Merlot Howell Mountain’s saturated ruby/purple color is followed by a big nose of licorice, creme de cassis, and subtle smoke as well as oak notes. Medium to full-bodied, with a long, textured, concentrated finish, this 1999 balances the vintage’s high tannin with sufficient fruit and extract. (RP)
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2013 Solomon Hills "Solomon Hills Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay (Previously $40)