Dense garnet and sediment-cloudy, but transported recently. Somewhat bricking edges. No sediment in bottle–so it’s all in the wine. A little model-glue initially which turns to big, rich raw-meat, banana-peel gameyness packed with licorice and caramelized sugar. I can’t help but think the gameyness is a left-over from intense floral notes of a younger date. They are still here–lavender and natal plum, but definitely polished from age. It settles down into a fat, cassis-laden spice-bomb quite quickly.
Probably my second-favorite subject–after 25$ Napa Cab–is fairly-hi-dollar Merlots. There just can be SOOOO many things going on, in both directions. As with most Merlots of this pedigree, it disappoints somewhat in the mouth–not delivering *quite* all the wonderfulness you expected from the nose.
This one is at the low end of the disappointment-scale, as the mouth is still rich and vibrant, solidly acidic on entry, full and round, packed with still-vibrant dark-cherry fruit and sophistication. Still-ample tannin round out the finish in dusty, drying fashion while the fruit vies for attention throughout. An amazing bottle of wine–as this label almost always is–and younger vintages are highly recommended. 14-5 is a bit of a shocker, as I pegged it at maybe 13-8 tops. A well-rounded, balanced offering of highest quality.
2004 CUVAISON Merlot Carneros Napa Valley 14.5