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Hello folks,

When this wine was opened I smelled plum, pepper, and cherry in that order, but all briefly. It was a dull milky red in color. Mostly tasted pepper and cherry at first, but then the oakiness seeped out, too, with a mild plum and cherry finish. Also caught two faint spots of candy apple and one hint of baked raisin.

On the first day this wine seemed like it couldn't make up it's mind what to do, and then on the second day it had a rather solid oak and burnt wood taste on top of the remaining fruit. Rather unappealing.

In my wine experiences, I have usually found Merlot to be lacking. Perhaps I have just been unlucky, but I'll keep experimenting and searching.

I have got a 1997 Judd Hill Merlot Knight's Valley Summers Ranch, a 1999 Camelot Merlot California, and a 2000 Blackstone Merlot California. I have considered buying a 1999 Duckhorn, but the $74 at a local NH State Liquor Store would be the first time I've paid over $50 for a bottle. I'm not sure I want to do this with a grape I've had less than satisfactory success with.

We'll see what happen's!

Mark, N.H.
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Which Duckhorn merlot is $74?Estate?Three Palms? I saw the regular 99 merlot for $43 at the State store. I'm sure the high end merlot would be amazing but if you are not a merlot fan I would start out with the $43 duckhorn and you can see if you like the duckhorn style before shelling out the cash for the top of the line stuff.

I really liked the '99 Duckhorn Paraduxx. ($45)
So did my wino friends. It's a "super-tuscan" style blend, predominately Zin/Cab. (60/35)
I think the remaining 5% is merlot.

A good, cheap merlot you may wanna try is the Estancia. Usually goes about $10 or so @ Sam's Club and scored a WS 87. Me and the wife enjoyed it. More Euro in style - less fruit and more earth and pencil-lead type flavors.
I don't think you'll be disappointed with the '97 Judd's Hill Merlot; I've had the '95 and '96 and both bottlings were very, very nice. Laube says this winery is one to watch and I'd agree. $23 locally for the '97.

Also, you won't go wrong with the Ch. Ste. Michelle vineyard specific bottlings, especially the Canoe Ridge and Cold Creek Vineyard Merlot. Washington vintages '94 thru '99 have all been outstanding; merlot from this AVA runs circles around most CA merlot, IMHO.

[ 09-04-2002, 09:18 PM: Message edited by: kybo ]
Emottram: Good question! Unfortunately, I don't remember. I looked at the price and kept on looking. I'll check it out this weekend for you.

Wino4ever: I believe someone else once mentioned positive things about the Estanica, and I did enjoy their 1998 California Cabernet Sauvignon. I'll give their Merlot try.

Kybo: I am looking forward to the Judd Hill. I'll look for the Ch. Ste. Michelle vineyard vintages you mentioned. Have you tried their regular table Merlot?

Mark, N.H.
Emottram: The Duckhorn Merlot was an Estate 1999 vintage. However, the store was already out when I stopped in this time. They told me they only had six when they started two weeks back.

Wino4ever: Picked up a 1999 Estanica Merlot today on your recommendation.

Kybo: Also got the last 1995 Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Merlot the shop had available. Nice label, and I am anxious to try what's inside!

Now I got five different Merlots to taste. I buy to many more and this grape may start to rival my zinfandel quantity. Second thought...not likely. [Smile]

Mark, N.H.

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