An absolute epic wine is the 2013 Merlot, a blend of 95% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot. It is no wimpy wine either, with the natural alcohol slightly north of 15%. A gorgeous nose including roasted espresso, melted black chocolate, blackberry, plum and cassis offers an exceptional set of aromatics. The wine has beautiful ripeness, headiness and a long finish of close to 45+ seconds. This is a beauty of terrific purity, texture and personality. Few California Merlots will ever be capable of equaling this. Drink it over the next 25-30+ years. Pahlmeyer certainly has one of the most consistently superb resumés for the last 30 years that any winery could desire. Drink through 2046. (RP)
The wine launched cinematically by Robert Redford in “Indecent Proposal,” this delivers a succulently memorable and seductive mix of crisp cassis and meaty rare beef, a sanguine underpinning that gives it intrigue. Full bodied and ripely crafted, it is completely satisfying in its classical components of sage and cedar, with a lingering lust of chocolate-covered cherry. (VB)
The 2013 Merlot is dark, powerful and also quite tannic, all signatures of the vintage. Black cherry, mocha, graphite, plum, smoke, licorice and menthol are bold and intense in the glass, but the 2013 is only showing a hint of its potential. Far from an easygoing Merlot, Pahlmeyer's 2013 is going to need time to be fully expressive. This is a rare vintage that is 100% Merlot. Most of the fruit in the 2013 is estate grown, with a dollop of grapes (15%) from Rancho Chimiles in Coombsville. It's full steam ahead at Pahlmeyer, where the team continues to make compelling wines in both Napa Valley and Sonoma. I focused on Napa Valley wines during my most recent visit earlier this fall and will cover the Sonoma wines early next year. The just concluded harvest in Napa Valley was the first in which farming was done entirely in house, which is a big investment, but also quite common among estate that aspire to be at the top. Some of the recent developments here include an increasing reliance of estate fruit. In the cellar, winemaker Kale Anderson is extending barrel aging for the reds, which means some of the 2013s had not been bottled when I saw them. Concurrently, Pahlmeyer is also moving towards larger 500 liter barrels on a number of wines, which he feels allow the wines to retain more freshness as they age. The 2013s are just as strong at they were last year. (AG)
Plump and silky, with a luxurious texture and a lingering finish framed by rich flavors of black cherry, mocha, dusty herb and spicy oak. Tannins ease in on the finish. Drink now through 2024. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. (TF)
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