Monday, June 11, 2007

Rating: **+ 2003 Toasted Head Merlot, CA

Review: Believe it or not, this value-priced offering is the higher-end merlot bottling for R.H. Phillips Wine Company, even though in price it just barely ticks above the "Practically Free" category. Using a "California" designation, some of the petit verdot and cabernet sauvignon blending grapes still come from the Giguiere's original Dunnigan Hills farm in Esparto, CA, northeast of Napa. The merlot itself hails from Monterey, Solano and Alexander Valley.

Color is medium dark red, turning slightly brick around the rim - an unusual conversion to brick even though this is only a couple short years in the bottle. The nose shows a bit of burnt cherry, not dramatic, but reasonably promising. On the palate, the berries are round and firm, with just a touch of acids and tannins. Quick finishing, though, and that's where the modest pedigree and cost shows through.

Pleasant, but not quite interesting enough to draw me back for a return engagement.

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