Friday, August 31, 2007

Rating: ***+ 2004 Parcel 41 Merlot, Napa Valley, CA

This Napa Valley merlot is from Oakville-based Nine North Wine Company.

In the glass, Parcel 41 merlot is transparent medium dark red. The aromas stay neatly folded in the glass, but are robust with touches of blackberries and violet. On the palate, tannin velvet is the first sensation, a robe that cloaks the soft fruit inside. Mild acids bring the flavors up and into the mouth, and help to draw out the finish. Could soften an integrate with a bit more age, and I'd be inclined to try it again then. Three stars out of five.

For comparison, Connoisseur's Guide to California Wines rated this an 87 and said, "Medium in volume and concentration and delivering well-formed red cherry fruit aromas tinged lightly with dried herb and vanilla, this wine is a bit gruff and silty on the palate but shows plenty of fruit and looks to be a good partner to grilled steaks. And, if cellared for a few years, it promises to find a bit of smoothing."

Updated November, 2007: With just a bit more bottle time, this is already mellowing slightly. Adds a nice old world / old oak aroma. The palate picks up on a touch of the old world funk too. Rounder. I'm adding a plus for what it's showing with just a few more months in the bottle.


  1. we love this wine!
    part of the attraction is the "pedigree" (Jim Gill, James Harder and Jim Regusci) and part is the excellent price ($16.95)

    forget Pinot, bring back Merlot!!!!!

  2. DLJ, I agree with you. Although each varietal has its charms, of late merlots are blowing away pinot noir from a quality/price perspective. And now I hear many top-notch CA merlot lots are being turned over to pinot noir clones. Of course the precipitating moment in all this came with Miles' comment in Sideways. Search for "sideways" on the site to see my hypothesis.