From their beautiful hillside vineyards situated behind the vast estate of Dominus, Blankiet has produced a 2003 Merlot Paradise Hills Estate (14.9% natural alcohol) offering a gorgeously complex bouquet of Chinese black tea, black currants, earth, chocolate and a touch of mocha. Frankly, I’m not sure a Napa Merlot can be any more complex than this. With a deep plum/purple color and round, juicy, full-bodied opulence, this 2003 could easily compete with the greatest Pomerols or St.-Emilions. Made from 100% Merlot, it was aged 18 months in 100% new Taransaud barrels, which provide the chocolaty, espresso notes. This sensational wine is showing even better than I remember. Impressive, rich and long, it is close to full maturity, but should easily last for another decade or more in a cold cellar. (RP)
Saturated ruby-red. Sour cherry, plum, menthol, mocha and smoked meat on the nose. Less fleshy than the young 2004 but still round, large-scaled and mouthfilling, with considerable complexity. Finishes quite long, with substantial dusty tannins and excellent grip. (ST)
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