Candied fruit nose. Cherries, tobacco and a hint of chocolate on the palate. Despite the fact this wine seems to be made for the masses to enjoy, I swear there is some underlying secondary characteristic in there. Maybe with some cellaring it would show a little leather or earth flavor. Very light tannin and nice acidity. Perfectly smooth and mellow. Last time I had this wine was the 2000 vintage. It had very little fruit and showed more secondary characteristics. It was quite Bordeaux like. I was hoping for the same here. Still a nice bottle of a California cherry juice red. From what I understand this is 76% Merlot and then 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, the rest is Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. The blend may be responsible for the smoothness but I wish they would up the % of Malbec and Petit Verdot to make for some more interesting flavor.

84 Points
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