Browse Tag


Leonetti another fish

Leonetti 2005 Merlot (Columbia Valley) – Big, lush black cherry with mixed chocolates. Satiny tannin. Syrupy and port-like. Excellent in a style I find fairly repellent after about two sips. (2/08)

A man’s wine is his Castle

[logo]Castle 1997 Merlot Donell Ranch Sangiacomo (Carneros) – All the structure here has washed away, leaving a sweaty core of intensely-concentrated blueberry. It tastes like one of those sour hard candies, though it’s neither particularly acidic nor sweet. It’s a very interesting wine, and I enjoy it, but there’s been no gain in complexity over the last eleven years, and I see no real hope of it holding longer given the state of its foundation. (3/08)

Hello, God, it’s me…

[bottle]Voyager Estate 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (Margaret River) – At a good midlife stage right now, showing concentrated blueberry and darker-toned fruit, some leafy, dark earth, and good balance. The structure has started to wear away, but it’s still present, and as yet it’s exposing no flaws. What hasn’t yet come is tertiary complexity, and I have no way of knowing if it ever will come with this wine. But if you’re still holding this, there’s no need to worry. (2/08)

Kina speaker

Neudorf 2004 Merlot Rosé “Kina” (Nelson) – Medium-weight blueberry and raspberry. Fruity, soft, and fluffy. Not at all serious, and it occurs to me that I’ve never had a rosé of merlot that I’ve much liked. (3/05)

Auto parts

Rombauer 2003 Merlot (Napa Valley) – Smoked black cherry residue and black pepper; there’s a char to this wine, probably from the oak, that somewhat dominates. There’s good acidity, but the wine hollows on the finish. (5/07)

Ferdinando’s hideaway

label]i Clivi di Ferdinando Zanusso 2000 Galea Rosso Colli Orientali del Friuli (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) – Grey and black earth are here less a foundation than a wrapping, like a soil-enclosed truffle cored with dried red, blue and black fruit that flow forth with a gorgeous, silken texture. The finish is long, dusty and exceedingly pleasant. A very polished wine, perhaps not with the inherent character of the whites, but fine in its own right. (7/07)

[bottles]l’Ecole No. 41 2005 Merlot Seven Hills (Walla Walla Valley) – Buttered toast with dark blueberry jelly, ripe and leathery tannin, plus a finish that disappears from the inside out. Rather soupy. Not very good, but not horrible. (9/07)

[bottle]Leonetti 2005 Merlot (Columbia Valley) – 85% merlot, 8% cabernet sauvignon, 7% petit verdot. Big, spicy wood with a chewy yet lush texture. The quality is obvious, as is the seductive nature of the wine, but despite the overtly apparently quality, the wine is thoroughly anonymous. It could be from anywhere, made from anything. So what’s the point, exactly? (9/07)

[bottle]Pedestal 2004 Merlot (Columbia Valley) – 77% merlot, 16% cabernet sauvignon, 5% cabernet franc, 2% petit verdot. All toasty wood and brioche, no fruit or character. I’m told that über-consultant Michel Rolland had a hand in this. Certainly I’m no great fan of his ever-expanding portfolio, but his wines are almost never this horrid. (9/07)

[logo]buty 2006 Merlot/Cabernet Franc (Columbia Valley) – 61% merlot, 39% cabernet franc. Espresso and chocolate with dark blueberries and a very concentrated, liqueur-like, but (weirdly, given those descriptors) not entirely overblown aspect. However, there is one significant flaw, and that’s the heat. It’s there on the nose, it’s there on the palate, and it positively burns on the finish. If you like a little brandy in your Fronsac, this is the wine for you. (9/07)