Dark clear ruby with thin edges. Fairly staining. Big fig and drenched tiramisu nose, marzipan and maraschino turns considerably stemmier with air. A steely minerality takes over and I honestly can not decide of I like it or not. It vacillates between muddy loam and carborundum, dusty plain and electrical fire. Hey, at least it’s not boring. Brilliant bouquet for a rather inexpensive 7yo Napa Merlot, thick and rich–and oaky, yes–but thick and rich none-the-less and NOT boring OR tired.
You don’t run into ME like this very often and this reviewer considers it a smokin deal. It is not a particularly elegant Merlot. It has tattoos, smokes and runs with poorly-dressed girls. SOOOO much different from last night’s Merlot. Where this Napa Valley can play Pomerol fairly well, the Bien Nacido was all St. Em business.
In the mouth, brash and unforgiving and not a ‘doughnut-wine’. Intense mash of dark cherry comes on early and continues far into the last memories of the wine. Rich in acid and blisteringly tannic, it has a grainy mouth-feel positively requiring chewing–not the typical chewy structure, but here it is the chalky, concentrated fruit you are trying to get between the gap in your front teeth. Do not mistake big, concentrated fruit for *fresh and lively* however. The fruit is definitely fading on this and another year–or two TOPS–before it becomes an afterthought alongside the oak-and-brier pillars.
No hollow center as often befalls Merlot. A continuous stream of nuance start-to-finish–the nose complimenting the taste, and visa-versa–means a solid-drinking and constantly-blossoming wine. Seriously bitter structure in the finish, but all that fruit mash alongside softens the reality. This is Merlot in a china shop.
2008 AHNFELDT Merlot Napa Valley 14.2