I've already posted this on the labrat report page, but in case you haven't found that yet:
Checking in with a preliminary labrat report on the 2004 Merlot (at least that's what it said on the label):
I know it's not even 4:00 in here in Buffalo, but the wine has been here over an hour now, I've got it cooled down to a proper drinking temperature, and I can't wait. I'm even waiving my customary "refusal" to drink alone. I just poured a bit into a nice big glass, swirled it around a few times, and I'm looking at the color. Even in such a small amount, there's a big, deep, rich garnet color. I look at the label again. It still says Merlot.
I detect a faint hint of alcohol on the nose, with pepper and plum. With just a sip, the alcohol recedes to the background, and there is plenty of flavor to replace it. Cherries, plums, still some pepper, maybe even a little vanilla. OK, now I'm looking back at the specs on this beauty, and I find 9% Cab. Doesn't seem like enough to give it all that structure. It must be that these winemakers know where to grow Merlot grapes and how to make a really good wine from them. Mind you, I've never been a Merlot-hater ("I'm not drinking any effing Merlot"), but those who think they are should try this.
I have to go finish getting dinner ready (an alfresco repast of curried chicken salad with grapes, celery, and sliced almonds, while waiting for the curtain to go up on King Lear). I had a different wine in mind for that, but this one should do nicely.
I'll be back later with more on this wine, but if you're still on the fence, you've got less than 9 hours to get down and push the buy button.
Always keep a bottle of Champagne in the fridge for special occasions. Sometimes the special occasion is that you've got a bottle of Champagne in the fridge. - Hester Browne
Filmmaker/winemaker Francis Ford Coppola says his two professions are almost the same and that each depends on source material and takes a lot of time to perfect.
The big difference: "Today's winemakers still worry about quality."
Ddeuddeg's Cheesecake Cookbook