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1999 Phelps Ovation: Golden straw color, with lovely meld of pear and honeysuckle. Not the slightest hint of oak. 91 points
1999 Swanson merlot: Decanted two hours. Dark ruby color with dark cherry, mocha/chocolate and coffee notes. 90 at least.
1996 Estancia meritage: Hard to believe I purchased this for under $20. Also decanted, likely for more than three hours. Lighter ruby than the merlot with sturdy legs though. Since this was our third wine and not consumed until my neighbor and I made sure the Phelps and Swanson were dead soldiers, all I can tell you is it was really, really good. Bright flavor profile that gave way to a long aftertaste.
The wines matched perfectly with the bruschetta, cantaloupe wrapped with priscutto and the parmesan reggiano, manchego, gruyere and several other cheeses we had.
Up yours Isidore. [Mad]
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KoH, I have had several bottles of the 99 Swanson and I agree with your 90+ pt. assessment. Great juice for nice price. Very dense stuff.

How much longer can the '96 Estancia hang-on? I have one bottle left and I'm curious on whether to drink or hold. Now, we've had plenty of hurricanes here in Wilmington and I know how it is--so if you were drunk off you're ass riding out the storm, I'll understand if you are unable to recollect. [Big Grin] But if you do recall...
Thanks, KoH. I'll hold for now.

Hurricanes always make me thirsty...real thirsty. I have a very foggy memory of the back side of Hurricane Fran (1996). We drank like hell waiting for her landfall but she stalled and gained strength. We were all plastered by the time she finally hit land. She was a real %#!*&# when she finally came on-shore. Good or bad, I can hardly remember the eye passing. [Eek!]
I didn't own a house back then, so I could get away with this sort of stupidity.

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